Six of the best…King’s Singers recordings

We explore the essential King's Singers discs from across the decades


Original Debut Recording (1971)


The first ever King’s Singers album consists mainly of popular songs, a number of which are heard in deft arrangements by Gordon Langford, whose Trio accompanies the group here. Originally released under the title ‘By Appointment’, the disc is rounded off by Ron Goodwin’s sublimely daft ‘What Kind of Things (Do the King’s Singers Sing)?’ party piece. Chandos CHAN6562

Madrigal History Tour (1984)

A wide-ranging tour of Renaissance madrigals that followed the King’s Singers’ groundbreaking TV series of the same name. Accompanied by The Consort of Musicke and lutenist Anthony Rooley, the tour takes us on a musical journey of Italy, England, France, Spain and Germany, including composers such as Byrd, Lassus, Willaert and Flecha. Warner Classics 585 7142

The Beatles Connection (1986) 

The composer György Ligeti, no less, was a major fan of ‘Honey Pie’ and ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ on this disc of a cappella arrangements of Fab Four favourites. Arrangers include Daryl Runswick, a regular collaborator with the group, plus Bob Chilcott, who had recently began as tenor with the King’s Singers at the time of the recording, and Bill Ives, the singer he had replaced. EMI 749 5561

Street Songs (1998)

The King’s Singers join forces with percussion Evelyn Glennie on this disc, with commissions from composers based in Johannesburg and the Western Cape alongside Steve Martland’s Street Songs, diverse settings of English children’s rhymes. The recording of the disc was accompanied by a major international tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ensemble. RCA G010000245012M

Landscape and Time (2006)

John McCabe, Peter Maxwell Davies and Richard Rodney Bennett are among the composers featured on this impeccably sung disc of modern masterpieces, recorded in the calm of a church in deepest rural Gloucestershire. The singers’ language skills are to the fore as the disc takes us through texts in Finnish, Hungarian and Japanese among others. Signum SIGCD090

GOLD (2017)

The current King’s Singers celebrate the group’s 50 years over three discs that range from the Renaissance, through composers such as Saint-Saëns and Schubert, to songs specially commissioned for the occasion. Die-hard fans, meanwhile, will also want to invest in the GOLD book, charting  five decades of King’s Singers history and including interviews with all 24 surviving past-and-present members of the group. Signum SIGCD500 (discs); KSB50 (book)


Read the Feburary issue of BBC Music Magazine for more on The King's Singers as we celebrate their 50th anniversary.