The Arcadian Singers of Oxford University
Director: Matthew O’Donovan
Organ: James Davy
Salvator Mundi - The Saviour of the World
The programme on this disc presents a variety of different responses to – and meditations on – the passion of Jesus Christ. While some of the texts set here see the redemption of mankind from an Old Testament prophetic viewpoint, others are inspired very directly by the events and even the images of the Lord’s Passion; others again are more broadly penitential, linked to the theme of the Passion simply by the centrality of the Cross to the Christian doctrine of forgiveness and salvation. The text of the Salvator mundi draws all these approaches together around this central theme, bringing together the cry of the church for forgiveness with this focus on the crucifixion.
Dedicated to the memory of Edmund Sutton (1981-2003), a friend and member of the choir from 2001.
Matthew O’Donovan was born in 1981 and received his early musical training as a chorister at St. Giles’ Church, Oxford and then as a music scholar at Abingdon School. After leaving school he spent a year as Organ Scholar at Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire, before returning to Oxford in October 2000 where he is soon to complete a degree in music and is organ scholar of Merton College. Matthew was appointed conductor of the Arcadian Singers in April 2001. Under his direction the choir have performed in and out of Oxford, broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and made two recordings. In recent years Matthew has also been a regular choir trainer on the Oxford RSCM chorister courses. He sang in the Schola Cantorum of Oxford for two years and performs regularly with the early music vocal ensemble Stile Antico. As an accompanist and continuo player he has worked with various groups including the Schola Cantorum, Oxford Pro Musica Singers, Voces Angelicae, and the Cathedral Chamber Choir. In 2002 he accompanied the annual RSCM diocesan choirs festival. He is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists and studies the organ with David Goode. He is still manic about DIY.
James Davy was born in 1980, and received much of his musical training as a Chorister at Southwell Minster, and subsequently as Organ Scholar of Portsmouth and Durham Cathedrals successively (the latter while reading for a music degree at the University of Durham). As an accompanist, he has worked with a number of choirs including the Arcadians, with whom he participated in the recording of Jubilate Agno, and a live broadcast of Choral Evensong on Radio 3 in August 2002. He is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists and continues his organ studies with James Lancelot. Composition is a spare-time activity, but one that he very much enjoys, and he has written for the Chapel Choir of University College, Durham; Durham University Chamber Choir, and for the Arcadians, for whom this will be his second work.
Produced by Stephen Shipley
Recorded and edited by Lance Andrews
Cover illustration: Detail from the east window of Merton College Chapel, reproduced by kind permission of the Warden and Scholars.Photograph by Matthew O’Donovan.