The Choir of Royal Holloway presents the debut recording of Pierre Villette’s Messe Da Pacem in a new arrangement for choir and organ by Rupert Gough in a new album out on 25 September, 2020.
The Choir is also joined by the university’s alumna, and award-winning soprano, Sarah Fox, and accompanied on the newly restored Cavaillé-Coll organ of Notre-Dame d’Auteuil in Paris.
The Mass is recorded alongside Villette’s well-known Hymne à la Vierge, and the new album includes works by contemporary Parisian composer Yves Castagnet, recorded here for the first time.
The album opens with a new choral arrangement of Ravel’s ever-popular Pavane pour une infante défunte.
Rupert Gough has been Director of Choral Music and College Organist at Royal Holloway since 2005. He has developed the university’s choral programme to include weekly choral recitals, choral conducting courses for undergraduates, frequent new choral commissions and has transformed the university’s Chapel Choir into an elite group of 24 choral scholars.
Rupert said of The Choir’s recording: “It has been a joy to discover more music by Pierre Villette, who is so often known for only his Hymne à la Vierge. The Messe da Pacem is full of colour, and freshness and deserves to be better-known.
“I am hugely proud of the result which brings together the best of what we offer at Royal Holloway alongside the magnificent acoustic of a large French church, and a recently restored world-class organ.
“The Choir really enjoyed learning this music, as well as newer works by Yves Castagnet, and this recording certainly does this music justice.”
The Choir of Royal Holloway, University of London is unique in the UK as the only collegiate choir with a weekly programme of services and concerts and is considered to be one of the finest mixed-voice collegiate choirs in Britain.
Created at the time of the foundation of Royal Holloway in 1886, the Choir was originally only for women's voices.
The mixed choir today undertake a busy schedule of weekly services, as well as concerts, international tours, recordings and broadcasts.
In addition to these, Royal Holloway is also the only university that still maintains a tradition of daily sung morning services.
The new album is available as a CD or download and can be pre-ordered for dispatch from 25 September, 2020.