Time, Death and Judgement (1884) by George Frederic Watts (1817-1904).
Detail from Time, Death and Judgement (1884) by George Frederic Watts (1817-1904), used for the recording artwork.

University of Birmingham Voices are pleased to announce the release of their debut recording with the independent classical music label, Hyperion. Recorded in July 2022 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conductor, Martyn Brabbins at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, the recording marks a milestone for singing at the University with its release.

The live recording of their performance of Charles Villiers Stanford’s forgotten late-Victorian masterpiece, Requiem marked 125 years since the premiere of the work at the Birmingham Triennial Festival and featured a number of international soloists alongside Brabbins – including Carolyn Sampson and Marta Fontanals-Simmons (both Birmingham alumni), with James Way and Ross Ramgobin.

Made possible through a generous gift from Professor Sir David Eastwood (Vice Chancellor of the University until December 2021), the collaboration also featured an enlightening pre-concert talk from leading Birmingham academic, Dr Paul Rodmell, who explored the relationship between the composer and the festival for whom the Requiem was commissioned.

Prepared by Chorus Masters, Professor Simon Halsey CBE and Julian Wilkins, University of Birmingham Voices have enjoyed a number of critically acclaimed programmes with the Orchestra, including a concert production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Yeomen of the Guard in 2017, as well as a celebrated joint performance with CBSO Chorus of William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast in 2019. The choir marked the centenary year of the CBSO in January 2020 with a massed performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 (“Symphony of a Thousand”) alongside CBSO Chorus and Baltimore Choral Arts, and – most recently in April 2023 – joined forces again with the CBSO Chorus for Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Choirs are an important part of University Music in Birmingham, and offer unrivalled opportunities for young singers at any university in the UK. For more information, or if you would like to find out more about choirs at University of Birmingham, please contact the University Music and Concerts Team (universitymusichub@contacts.bham.ac.uk).