Music for May Morning from Magdalen College Oxford

Author: Opus Arte

Magdalen College Choir welcomes us into springtime with a glorious Oxford tradition - Music for May Morning.

  • The Sweet and Merry Month | Copyright: © Choir of Magdalen College Oxford

    The Sweet and Merry Month © Choir of Magdalen College Oxford

  • Choristers by Addisons Gate | Copyright: © Choir of Magdalen College Oxford

    Choristers by Addisons Gate © Choir of Magdalen College Oxford

Experience a staple of the Oxford calendar in this set of works inspired by the May Morning tradition, with music spanning from the traditional to contemporary. Starting with The College Clock welcoming in the sunrise, this special recording displays The Magdalen College Choir in radiant form, shining in the glorious acoustics of the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Oxford.

The practice of saluting the Spring on or around the first of May dates back to Roman times, when Flora, the goddess of flowers, was celebrated in a week-long Floralia festival. The precise origins of the Oxford tradition are uncertain, but a celebration of the completion of the College’s Great Tower in 1509 and a Requiem or ‘obit’ to mark the death of King Henry VII, a benefactor to Magdalen, at the end of April that same year, are two possible explanations pointing to its roots in the early sixteenth century (when singing from towers and processions through the town, in celebration of both sacred and secular feasts, were common).

Praise for previous releases from The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford and Opus Arte:

“There’s real generosity, directness and energy from these singers…” (Gramophone – The Pillar of the Cloud CD 2019)

“The interpretations are forthright and plangent, the young soloists spirited…” (The Times ★★★★ - Tomkins: Choral Works CD 2016)

Production year 2021
Recording location Church of St John the Evangelist, Oxford
Co-Producer Simon Kiln and James Whitbourn
Sound Engineer Simon Kiln
Choir The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford
Conductor Mark Williams



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