Wood carvings showing religious scenes

Online Choir Recordings

Throughout Michaelmas term, members of the St Peter's College Choir will be continuing to record motets appropriate to the liturgical season.

During the first four weeks of term, a new recording will be uploaded to this page. The contributions of individual singers from St Peter’s, recorded remotely, are gathered together in synchronized performances.

The most recent week will appear directly below. If you wish to access recordings from previous weeks, these will be made available in drop down sections further down the page.

You will also find below an archive of reflections and remote recordings from Trinity term 2020.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email the Chaplain, Revd Dr Elizabeth Pitkethly (elizabeth.pitkethly@spc.ox.ac.uk).

Week 2 (18 October)

For week 2, the Choir sings the double-choir motet by Giovanni Croce (1557-1609), Factum est silentium. The text is proper to Michaelmas, with its account of the great battle in heaven between St Michael and the Dragon.  

Croce responds to the conceit with vigorous rhythms and quick parries between one choir and the other. Croce, a near contemporary of the Roman Palestrina, spent most of his life in Venice, having been a chorister there, and rising eventually to the post of maestro di cappella at St Mark’s. His signature style involved scoring for two or three choirs, a distribution of voices in perfect harmony with the dramatic architecture of St Mark’s. In his setting of Factum est silentium, he passes freely from opulent 8-part polyphony to chori spezzati techniques, where we clearly hear the two choirs in opposition, and the battle enjoined.

Translation of the text 

There was silence in heaven when the Dragon fought with the Archangel Michael. The voice of a thousand thousand was heard saying; Salvation, honour and power be to Almighty God. A thousand thousand ministered to him, and ten hundreds of thousands stood before him.

The Choir begins this Term’s recordings with Stanford’s setting of Beati quorum via, one of three motets with Latin texts he wrote for Trinity College, Cambridge in the 1880s, for his successor there as Organist, Alan Gray. Together they stand as perfect examples of the English partsong tradition brought to bear on liturgical texts.

Eighth Easter Reflection

Leavers’ Sunday: St Peter’s College Chapel
Rembrandt’s ‘The Flight into Egypt’

The eighth Sunday of Trinity term is the occasion when we say farewell to those who leave our college community. This year we are not able to say farewell in person in the way we would love to so I have picked up on themes of leaving and flight in this recorded reflection on Rembrandt’s painting, ‘The Flight into Egypt’. 

Although Rembrandt’s paintings on this theme are perhaps more obviously associated with the season of Christmas or Epiphany, the theme of sudden flight seemed appropriate given the way our college community dispersed so suddenly last term when the COVID lockdown became necessary.  Whilst we cannot presently come together to say the goodbyes we would like to in person, we look forward to welcoming back as many of you as possible as soon as we are able. In the meantime please keep in touch and be assured of our love and prayers as you move on from college to pastures new. 

I recorded this reflection using my memory of the painting I had seen in the Ashmolean Young Rembrandt exhibition and I see that I remembered the painting from 1634 rather than the version from 1627.

A Prayer for Leavers

Words based on Joshua chapter 1 verses  5-7: ‘The Lord goes before you. He will neither leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and take courage’.

Almighty God we thank you for all those who have contributed to the life of this college of St Peters. We thank you for their friendship and service and for all that they have brought to this community. We give thanks for knowledge and skills acquired and pray that you will direct their paths as they seek to use their training to foster the common good. May they know your strength in the coming days: in uncertainty give them your peace; in discouragement perseverance and may they ever give thanks for all your good gifts. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


This week's remote performance is of Anton Bruckner's Locus iste

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) is best known for his lengthy, some say sprawling symphonies.  His motet Locus iste reveals him also as the perfect miniaturist.  All the same, the 48 bars of this motet convey a surprising spaciousness.

Translation: This place was made by God, a priceless mystery; it is without reproof

Seventh Easter Reflection (Week 7 June)

This week's reflection is written by Rev Canon Geoff Maughan, who compares Rembrandt’s Annunciation (1635) with Fra Angelico’s portrayal of the Annunciation (1425-6).

The music is a remote performance of Sergej Rachmaninov's "Praise the Name of the Lord", part of the "All-Night Vigil" sequence.

Sixth Easter Reflection (Week 31 May)

This week's reflection, written by Rev Dr Richard J Ounsworth OP, Fellow at Blackfriars, focuses on El Greco’s  ‘Pentecost’.

The music is a remote performance of Thomas Attwood's "Come, Holy Ghost"

Fifth Easter Reflection (Week 24 May)

This fifth reflection considers Rembrandt's painting ‘The Ascension of Christ’, one in a series of five paintings of the Passion of Christ  commissioned from the Dutch court in about 1628 through Constantin Huygens, secretary to the Prince of Orange.

The music is the complete remote recording of Wesley's, "Blessed be the God and Father"

Fourth Easter Reflection (Week 17 May)

Last week's reflection focused on the tragic tale depicted in Rembrandt’s painting ‘Judas Repentant Returning Pieces of Silver’ (1629), while this week's will consider the gospel narrative that inspired Rembrandt’s ‘The Denial of St Peter’ (1660). 

Third Easter Reflection (Week 10 May)

The next two reflections will focus on Rembrandt’s paintings ‘Judas Repentant Returning Pieces of Silver’ (1629) and his painting thirty or so years later, ‘The Denial of St Peter’ (1660). 

Third Easter Reflection (Week 10 May)

Second Easter Reflection (Week 3 May)

This week's reflection focuses on Rembrandt's painting ‘The Supper at Emmaus’.

First Easter Reflection (Week 26 April)

In the final reading in our advent carol services, the Chaplain read the traditional words from the Prologue to John’s Gospel, ‘The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not overcome it’. The phrase encapsulates the hope at the centre of the Christian faith that God breaks into the darkness of the world in the person of Christ. 

The music is Marenzio's Quia vidisti me.