Not much is known about the English composer John Sheppard. When he was born, and where he grew up, is lost to history but most scholars place his birth at somewhere between 1515 and 1520. This places him in one of the most turbulent periods in English church history, something that can be heard on this disc in the wide stylistic range he used in order to adapt to the quickly changing politics of the day. The sophisticated six part texture of Gaude, gaude, gaude Maria suggests the influence of Queen Mary who encouraged elaborate sacred composition. It is one of Sheppard’s most thrilling and ambitious works. On the other hand, Christ rising again reflects Thomas Cranmer’s insistence on musical simplicity but demonstrates the genius with which Sheppard explores the limits of expressive power with only the most restricted means. The works are performed by the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge under the directorship of Andrew Nethsingha. One of the finest men and boys choirs in the world, it is known and loved by millions from its recordings, broadcasts, and concert tours. The choir has been a cornerstone of the great English choral tradition since the 1670s and is recognised for its distinctive, rich, and expressive sound.