The Bird of Paradise

An inaugural recording, celebrating the musical life of College.

Directed by former Director of Music-Making, Mark Gotham.


On behalf of everyone involved, I am delighted to present this inaugural recording, celebrating the musical life of Churchill College, Cambridge. We begin in a suitably celebratory style with a short fanfare written especially for the two major festal occasion in the college calendar: the Founder’s and the Scholars’ feasts. A long form of the fanfare’s title might run Founder’s Fanfare and Scholars’ Fugato, or even as a playfully alliterative Founder’s Fugato Fanfare in Fourths and Fifths.

We then proceed directly to the ‘bird of paradise’ title-tracks for this collection: a poem by Robert Graves, followed by Professor Emeritus Hugh Wood’s Paraphrase on his own song setting of that text. To set the mood for Hugh’s piece, the Graves is first read aloud by poet John Kinsella, another fellow at Churchill whose own highly musical work we are delighted to feature with his Last Harpsichord Penillion, written in response to a performance of Rameau on the Churchill Rubio (a theme taken up later in this collection).

Hugh Wood is a composer of international significance with whom the College is delighted to be associated, and so it is entirely fitting that we should celebrate his music by taking it as the centrepiece of this collection. Indeed, this recording of the ‘Paraphrase’ began life as a part of the College’s 80th birthday celebrations for Hugh: it was made as a gift from his former student, the clarinettist Lynsey Marsh for that occasion. Lynsey is now principal clarinet of the Hallé orchestra, and we are touched that she has made time for this project.

This centrepiece is accompanied by a diverse selection of topically and stylistically relevant pieces which showcase the range of musical activity at Churchill. On the topical side are a number of ‘pastorals’, and on the stylistic side we follow a favoured programming strategy of partnering Hugh’s music with that of his major influence, Johannes Brahms.

We begin with the College’s big band, ‘Churchill Jazz’ and their take on the pastoral mood with an arrangement In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning by former student, James Brady. James was an active, recent member of the musical life of Churchill College and is now making waves as a freelancer. He was especially dedicated to securing the reputation of Churchill Jazz as one of the foremost big bands in Cambridge so it’s great to welcome him back to work with the latest incarnation of ‘ChuJazz’ as is it continues to go from strength to strength.

This pastoral is contrasted with two from the baroque repertoire, beginning with perhaps the most famous pastoral of them all: the depiction of shepherds abiding in the fields in Part 1 of Handel’s Messiah. This charming movement was recorded by the strings of The Orchestra on the Hill (a college orchestra run jointly by Churchill and its neighbours) following a recent performance of the whole work.

The College’s fine two-manual Rubio harpsichord makes an appearance in the Handel before being given a solo outing in Rameau’s Le Rappel des Oiseaux (the call of the birds). Edward Lilley is the inaugural organ scholar at Churchill College, and a fine keyboardist specialising in baroque music. The Rameau not only connects with the theme of the disc, and the allusions of Kinsella’s poem, but it also serves to show off what is generally considered to be the ideal repertoire for this instrument.

Brahms is featured twice on the disc, first with MPhil student Lay Kodama’s piano quintet providing a glimpse into the lively, ever-evolving chamber music scene at Churchill; and secondly with the Orchestra on the Hill now combined with the Inter Alios Choir for an arrangement of Brahms’ sumptuous Geistliches Lied. The Geistliches Lied was originally scored for keyboard accompaniment but the lush, independent contrapuntal lines have proved irresistible to many arrangers over the years. It is a work of astounding compositional ingenuity (a double canon at the ninth) and that technical feat is certainly remarkable, but it is the ease and beauty of Brahms realisation that makes the work truly special.

I would like to thank all of the many people involved in this project, and on behalf of them, I very much hope that you enjoy the result. Thank you for you interest in our first recording.


Mark Gotham
Director of Music-Making (2013—18)


Track Listing

    1. Mark Gotham: Founder’s Fanfare
      Churchill Festal Brass
      Mark Gotham, conductor
    2. Robert Graves: The Bird of Paradise
      Read by John Kinsella
    3. Hugh Wood: Paraphrase on The Bird of Paradise
      Lynsey Marsh, Clarinet
      Stephen Gutman, Piano
    4. David Mann and Bob Hilliard (arr. James Brady): In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
      Churchill Jazz
      James Brady, Director
    5. Handel: ‘Pastoral’ from The Messiah
      The Orchestra on the Hill
      Mark Gotham, conductor
    6. Brahms: Scherzo-trio from the piano quintet in f minor
      Lay Kodama Quintet
    7. John Kinsella: Last Harpsichord Penillion
      Read by the author
    8. Rameau: Le Rappel des Oiseaux from the Deuxième Suite in the ‘Pièces de Clavecin’
      Edward Lilley, harpsichord
    9. Brahms (arr. Gotham): Geistliches Lied
      Churchill College Chamber Choir
      The Orchestra on the Hill
      Moira Cox, solo cello
      Mark Gotham, conductor


Churchill Festal Brass

  • Trumpet – Jonathan Schranz (2012) & Sean Telford (2013)
  • Horn –  Jasper Lee (2011) & Matthew Waterson (2013)
  • Trombone: – Cumar Vasudeva (2012) & Ian Peat  (College staff)
  • Tuba –  Jeremy Parker (2012)


The Strings of the Orchestra on the Hill

Violin I
  • Emmy Bacharach (2012, leader)
  • Alex Carney (2012)
  • Alastair Kwan (2011)
  • Philip Leung (Clare College)
Violin II
  • Teddy Truneh (2012)
  • David Robertson (Magdalene College)
  • Brent Stewart (2011)
  • Suzan Ok (2013)
  • Miriam Henson (Murray Edwards College)
  • Edward Lilley (2012)
  • Angela Wittman (Murray Edwards College)
  • Simon Nathan (Selwyn College)
  • Moira Cox (2011)
  • Arabella Sturgess (Murray Edwards College)
  • Danielle Ainsworth (Fitzwilliam College)
  • Adrian Ball (2011)
String Theory Quintet
  • Violin I – Lay Kodama (2013)
  • Violin II – William Berdanier
  • Viola – Franca Hoffmann
  • Cello – Philip Zupancic
  • Piano – Jumpei Satomi
Churchill Jazz
  • Piano – Harry Morgan (2011)
  • Bass – Tom Bardsley
  • Drums – Sid Wright;
  • Saxes – Simon Warder (solo tenor), Rob Laidlow (tenor), Katie Miles (tenor), James Crockford (alto), David Twigg (alto), Karys Orman (baritone)
  • Trombones – Orlando Gibbons, Karl Goedel, Henry Moss, Ed Boyd
  • Trumpets – Andy Smith, Will Finch, Louis Day, Chris McMurra

Inter Alios Choir

  • Alice Harpole (2010)
  • MurphyKate Montee (2013)
  • Karys Orman (2009)
  • Kate Palmer (St Johns College)
  • Danielle Phillips (College singing teacher)
  • Isabelle Wynne (2013)
  • Chloe Allison (Selwyn College)
  • Marianne Gosciniak (2013)
  • Sophie Ip (M.E.C.)
  • Felicity Lane (M.E.C.)
  • Lucy Yuan (M.E.C.)
  • Sam Ainsworth (2011)
  • Martin French (2001)
  • Mark Miller (former Fellow and DoMM)
  • Jonathan Schranz (2012)
  • Matthew Swanson (King’s College)
  • James Veale (2013)
  • Giles Agnew ( College staff)
  • Thomas Ainge (2013)
  • Finlay Noble Chamings (2012)
  • Jonathan Padley (College staff)
  • David Monk (guest)
  • Sean Telford (2013)
  • Stephen Woodmansey (2013)
Production and Studio Engineering
  • Chris Cummins (College staff)
  • Tim Cooper (College staff)
  • Chris Pavey (College staff)
  • Adem Kerimofski (Technical Officer, Faculty Of Arts, University Of Western Australia – tr. 2, 7)
  • Edward Lilley (2012)
  • Simon Nathan (Selwyn College)
  • Matthew Swanson (King’s College)
  • Christopher Hicks (Churchill College Fellow)
  • Mark Gotham (Churchill College Fellow)