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Gonville & Caius College Chapel Choir under Peter Tranchell

Under Peter's leadership the Caius Choir developed from Tenors and Basses in the 1960s to ATB in the 70s, then admitted sopranos from 1982, in which state the current choir remains.

This article will be enhanced through time as more information becomes available.


One broadcast is known from the BBC's Genome project:

19.45, Sunday 15 December 1968. CHORAL AND ORCHESTRAL CONCERT
GÛNTER REICH (baritone) ROBERT TEAR (tenor)
Director of Music, Peter Tranchell
Conducted by GARY BERTINI


1974: A Recital in Gloucester Cathedral by The Boys' Choir of The Blue Coat School Birmingham with The Mens' Choir of Gonville & Caius College Cambridge

Music from Caius


Year Location/venue(s)
1962 Peter Marchbank remembers "In 1962, the Caius Choir toured to Norwich, Lavenham and Terrington (Edmund Gonville’s church)."
1966 26th June Evensong, Blofield; see MS.Tranchell.4.227(2).

Chelmsford Cathedral "to give a recital of 20th Century church music".
Mattins, 11 a.m. Sunday 25th June, The Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Beachampton (see MS.Tranchell.4.227(3))
Evensong, 6.30 p.m. Sunday 25th June, The Parish Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Chatteris


St Margaret’s Westminster
Bristol Cathedral
Bratton Fleming (Devon)
23rd June, Mattins, Chawleigh (Devon), see MS.Tranchell.4.227(5) 
26th June, Mattins, Denver.


Evensong 3.30 p.m. Saturday 21 June 1969 Norwich Cathedral
+ two parishes in Norfolk:
Mattins, 10 a.m. St. Peter's Church, Brooke, Sunday 22 June 1969. We have published the order of service and choir booklet.
Evensong, 6.30 p.m. Sunday 22 June 1969 at St Mary's, Long Stratton
26th June: St Margaret’s, Westminster, a Recital


No choir tour, due to College overspend, "but we did visit a church in Kettering and give a recital there. (They (the church) gave the coach-fare, and I paid for the chaps’ supper. So the College bore no expense). And we nipped over to Ely and sang Evensong in the Cathedral".
From The Caian:

The College Choir had two outside engagements during the course of the year. They gave an eighty minute recital at the church of St Mary the Virgin, Kettering (at the invitation of the parish) on 15 May 1970. The programme which included a number of secular items was as follows: ‘Osanna’ from the Missa ‘L’homme armé’ of Dufay; ‘Sing O Heavens’, anthem by Sullivan (tenor solo: Leslie Baker); ‘Willkommen Werter Schatz’ from Bach’s cantata no. 36 ‘Schwingt frendig euch empor’ (baritone solo: Alan Fairs); Carmen Cotidianum, a setting of a newspaper cutting to a psalm-chant; 14th century organ piece ‘Flos vernalis’ (Stephen Lodder); Wolf’s setting of Grethe’s Mignoris Song’* (bass solo: Martin Nelson; piano, Peter Tranchell) ; Laude Spirituali by Innocentius Damurius and Bartolomeo Tromboncino (c. 1500); Purcell’s ‘I was glad’ (solos: alto: Antony Evans; tenor: Leslie Baker; bass: Samuel Dunkley; Puccini’s Gloria from his Messa di Gloria (tenor solo: Keith Mills); 14th Century organ piece 21 ‘Retrove’ (Stephen Ladder); Liszt’s song ‘Bist du’ (baritone solo: Nigel Burton; piano, Peter Tranchell); Gesualdo’s Madrigal ‘Mercé! Grido piangendo’; Mendelssohn’s ‘If with all your hearts’ from his Elijah (tenor solo: Peter Chapman); ‘Bonjour’ by Orlando di Lasso; ‘The Folks who live on the hill’ by Jerome Kern (Baritone solo: Alan Fairs); The slow movement ‘Andante espressivo’ from Elgar’s Organ Sonata (Peter Stanger); an anonymous Sanctus and Benedictus of c. 1310; Schütz’s ‘Lobet den Herrn’; Bach’s ‘Esurientes’ from his Magnificat in D. (Baritone solo: Alan Fairs); Weelkes’s ‘O how amiable’; Rossini’s ‘Agnus Dei’ from his Petite Messe Solennelle (Baritone solo: Nigel Burton); and Perotinus’s ‘Viderunt’ c. 1200, with bells and percussion.
The Choir also sang Evensong in Ely Cathedral on 2 July 1970. The order of service included Preces and Responses by Tomkins; Magnificat on the 8th Tone by Dufay; Deus Misereatur in E flat by Garrett; and Laude Spirituali of the early 16th century.
*sic: presumably a misprint for Goethe’s Mignon’s Song
1971 Recital, 29 June 1971, St George’s, Colegate, Norwich
Recital, 1 July 1971, All Hallows on the Wall (London Wall, E.C.)
From The Caian:
The Choir had two outside engagements this year, a third having to be turned down as it would fall during an academically unsuitable period.
They gave recitals conducted by Peter Tranchell at St George’s, Colegate, Norwich (29 June 1971) and at All Hallows on the Wall (London Wall, E.C.) (1 July 1971), at the invitation of the authorities concerned. The programme for the two recitals (one of 85 minutes, the other of 55 minutes) comprised between them the following (some items being common to both recitals): Osanna from Missa l’homme armé by Dufay; ‘O Domine quia refugium’ by Couperin; Gloria from the ‘Playn Song Mass’ by Taverner; Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in E flat by Barnby; ‘Quid scire proderit’ by de Vitry; Gloria from Messe ‘cum jubilo’ by Duruflé; Sederunt by Pérotin (c. 1200) arr. for voices, bells and percussion; Benedictus from Missa ‘La Sol Fa Re Mi’ by Josquin; Sanctus and Benedictus from Missa a tre voci by Carissimi; ‘Estate’ (Summer’) by Dallapiccola; Anonymous Sanctus and Benedictus of 1310; ‘Der Gläube schafft’ from Cantata Wer da gläubet end getauft wird’ by J. S. Bach; Kyrie from Missa l’homme armé by Okeghem; Sanctus from Messe Solennelle by Gounod;’Exultet coelum laudibus’ by Palestrina; ‘Hoc in anni janua’ attributed to the school of Pérotin; ‘O how amiable’ by Weelkes.

Mattins, Sunday 25 June 1972, Holy Trinity, at Bincombe
Evensong, Sunday 25 June 1972, Bincombe-cum-Broadwey, Dorset
Recital, Saturday 24 June 1972, St Nicholas’s, Broadwey
Recital, Tuesday 27 June 1972, St Margaret’s, Cley-next-the-sea, Norfolk
Recital, Thursday 29 June 1972, St George's Chapel, Windsor

From The Caian:

The Choir had several outside engagements this year. They sang matins in Holy Trinity, at Bincombe, and evensong in St Nicholas’s, at Broadwey, on Sunday 25 June 72. These two churches are in a joint parish in Dorset linked to the College by ties of patronage and land tenure. They also gave recitals conducted by Peter Tranchell in St Nicholas’s, Broadwey, on Saturday 24 June 72; in St Margaret’s, Cley-next-the-sea, Norfolk, on Tuesday 27 June 72, as part of the annual Cley Festival; and in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, on Thursday 29 June 72. The programme for the three recitals (one of 90 minutes, one of 80 minutes, and the other of 70 minutes) comprised between them the following (some items in common): “Der Glaube schafft” from Cantata “Wer da glaubet and getauft wird” by J. S. Bach; Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in E flat by Barnby; Jonah’s aria and the concluding scenes from “Jonah” the oratorio by Carissimi; “O Domine quia refugium” by Couperin; “Where sin sore wounding” from “A pilgrimes solace” by Dowland; a Sanctus by Duruflé; “Veni sancte spiritus” by Dunstable; “Gloria” from Messe “cum jubilo” by Duruflé; “Tantum ergo” by Fauré; Sanctus from Messe 27 Solennelle by Gounod; The Finale (“Alleluia”) from the oratorio “King David” by Arthur Honegger; “Processional” by Charles Ives; The Sanctus from Missa “Mater Paris” by Josquin; “Long ago and far away” by Jerome Kern arranged by Peter Tranchell; “Exultet coelum laudibus” by Palestrina; “Since God so tender a regard” by Purcell; “Plange quasi virgo” by Cipriano di Rore; “O Herr hilf” by Schütz; Gloria from the “Playn Song Mass” by Taverner; “Bread of the world in mercy broken”, and “Even as Christ forgave you” by Peter Tranchell; “O sacrum convivium’” by Victoria; and Kyrie, Agnus Del, and Dona nobis pacem from the Mass in G by Weber.

Recital, Wednesday 27 June 1973, St. Margaret’s, Cley-next-the sea, Norfolk
Recital, Friday 29 June 1973, St. Peter and St. Paul’s, Lavenham, Suffolk
Recital, Saturday 30 June 1973, St. James’s, Hockwold-cum-Wilton, Norfolk
Matins, Sunday morning 1 July 1973, St. Mary’s, Weeting, Norfolk
Recital, Sunday 1 July 1973, St. Mary’s, Long Stratton, Norfolk

From The Caian:

The Choir had several outside engagements this year. They gave recitals conducted by Peter Tranchell in St. Margaret’s, Cley-next-the sea, Norfolk, on Wednesday 27 June 1973; in St. Peter and St. Paul’s, Lavenham, Suffolk, on 29 June 1973; in St. James’s, Hockwold-cum-Wilton, Norfolk, on Saturday 30 June 1973; and in St. Mary’s, Long Stratton, Norfolk on Sunday 1 July 1973. They also sang Matins in St. Mary’s, Weeting, Norfolk, on Sunday morning 1 July 1973. Except for Cley, all these parishes are connected with the College by ties of patronage. At Matins the Choir sang the Te Deum in B by Peter Tranchell for choir divided in eight parts with trumpet solo and organ accompaniment, and as anthem, Purcell’s “Rejoice in the Lord Alway.” Earlier on Sunday 1 July 1973 members of the Choir attended Holy Communion celebrated by the Dean and Chaplain (by arrangement with the incumbent who was unable to be present) at Rushford (formerly Rushforth and earlier Rushworth), the church associated with Edmund Gonville’s other foundation.
The programmes for the four recitals comprised between them the following items (some items in common): The Anonymous Sanctus and Benedictus of c. 1310 from Worcester M.S.; the aria ‘ Willkommen, werter Schatz’ by J. S. Bach.; ‘Pleni sunt coeli’ from the Mass ‘Et ecce terrae motus’ by Antoine Brumel (c. 1500) ; Three ‘Lauds’ by Innocentius Damonis (c. 1500); De Vitry’s motet ‘Quid scire proderit’ ; The ‘Osanna’ from Dufay’s Mass ‘L’homme armé’; Gesualdo’s ‘Mercé! grido piangendo’ ; Ireland’s anthem ‘Greater love hath no man’; Josquin’s Kyrie from the Mass ‘L’homme armé; Jerome Kern’s ‘Why do I love you’ arranged for male voices by Peter Tranchell; The choral dialogue ‘Hola, Caron’ by Orlando di Lasso; Locke’s anthem ‘Let God arise’; Marenzio’s ‘Hor chi Clori beata’ ; Mendelssohn’s ‘If with all your hearts ye truly seek him’; Monterverdi’s ‘Tu es Petrus’ ; Okeghem’s Kyrie from the Mass ‘L’homme armé; Palestrina’s ‘Tu es pastor ovium’ and ‘Lamentatio Jeremiae prophetae’ ; the Agnus Dei from Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle; Schönberg’s ‘Verbundenheit’ ; Schütz’s ‘Freuet euch des Herren, ihr Gerechten’ ; The Agnus Dei from Spohr’s Mass opus 54; Peter Tranchell’s Magnificat in C; Victoria’s ‘Tu es Petrus’ and ‘Aurea Luce’; Movements from Viviani’s first sonata for trumpet and organ; Thomas Weelkes’s ‘O how amiable’; Charles Wood’s ‘Hail gladdening light’.


From a letter home on 9 August 1974 "This year, as an experiment, it was arranged that our Caian choir of men should join forces with the boys’ choir of the Birmingham Blue Coat School, to give a couple of recitals, one in Gloucester Cathedral, & one in Birmingham Cathedral. This school is not unlike the Dragon School, – being a kind of prep-school where there are both boarders & day-boys, and also both boys & girls, – including a boarding-house for girls. It has no academic tradition to compare with the Dragons, but it is very strong on athletics. Many of its pupils are not local Birmingham boys, just as with the Dragon School, but the recruitment area covers wide and far including Commonwealth countries.

"Well, I was to conduct. This made several trips to Birmingham to take the boys. There were some 50 of them, aged from about 7 to 13. They didn’t sing with undue finesse, but they certainly vociferated. It took me some effort to get them to do musical effects such as ‘ritardando’ and ‘diminuendo’; but I managed. It was quite an experience having to deal with such zing and panache. Their musical director comes of a musical family in Cambridge. He didn’t read music as an undergraduate. He certainly gets them singing, even if it is “ff ” all the time!

"We gave (our combined choirs) two excellent recitals. It meant a lot of work for the Caius men, as they had to learn a complete tithe of music which we never normally sing, being a male-voice choir. I was amused at Birmingham. The local music critic wrote a quite appreciative piece in the local rag about us. But I happen to know that he had slipped out at the back, and spent most of our recital in the bar of the Grand Hotel with the Cathedral Organist!"
1975 June 1975 in Saint Mark’s Church, Harrogate, and in York Minster, again with Birmingham Blue Coat School
1982 29 October 1982, Service of Thanksgiving at Caius House, Battersea
5 December 1982, Carol Service at Mattishall, Norfolk
1983 17 June 1983, A Recital in St James’s Church, Florence
18 June 1983, A recital in the Monastery-church of Peace (Il Chiostro della pace) at Sassoferrato
19 June 1983, Sung Mass in the same church
20 June 1983, A Recital in the Church of St John the Baptist at Marsciano
21 June 1983, A Recital in the great hall of L’Università per gli stranieri at Perugia
26 June 1983, A Recital in St Margaret’s Church at Cley-next-the-Sea;
The music for these occasions (here given in a single list) was as follows: Bach Komm Jesu komm, Balfour Gardiner Te ante lucis terminum, Battishill O Lord look down, Bruch Kol Nidrei (cello solo: G. H. Llewellyn, piano accompaniment: T. R. Allen), Bruckner Christus factus est, Byrd Viri Galilaei, Caldara Laboravi in gemitu meo, Compère Kyrie (L’homme armé), Czech anon. Lo now sing we together, Dufay Osanna (L’homme armé), Duruflé Ubi caritas, Elgar Ave verum corpus, Gabrieli Attendite, Lassus Timor et tremor, Leighton Drop, drop slow tears, Loosemore O Lord increase my faith, Machaut Agnus Dei, Monteverdi Hor ch’el ciel e la terra, Okeghem Kyrie (L’homme armé), Ord Adam lay ybounden, Palestrina Benedicta sit sancta Trinitas, Pearsall Let us all go maying, Perotinus Benedicamus Domino, Preston Nunc Dimittis (1957), Purcell Hear my prayer, Rossini Preghiera, Schoenberg Verbundenheit, Schütz O Herr hilf’, Stanford Heraclitus and Te Deum in C, Tranchell Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in B, Peace be with you and Silentium, Tromboncino Non val aqua, Vacqueras Osanna (L’homme armé), Victoria Ave verum corpus, de Vitry Quid scire proderit, Weelkes O how amiable, Wood Hail gladdening light, Heaven, It was an English ladye bright, Missa Portae Honoris, Precamini and Carmen Caianum, Yon Toccatino (Organ solo T. R. Allen).
1986 "Peter took the Choir to Ashwell in 1986 at the invitation of Ursula (nee Grotrian) at whose request Paddy Hadley had composed My beloved spake in 1936. Her husband was the Vicar of Ashwell and the concert was given to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary." (Peter Marchbank, pers.comm. 12 September 2021)
1988 Denmark: Odense, 
1989 Winchester

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