Will & Kate James: Over The Rainbow


A collection of classical and popular favourites, performed by Will James & Kate James with pianist Malcolm Archer.

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About this release

Explore this unique collection of classical and popular favourites, performed by BBC2 Young Chorister Finalists, Will & Kate James with pianist Malcolm Archer. Includes special commissioned arrangements of ‘Angels’ and ‘Over the Rainbow’ by George Arthur.

“This is a really wonderful collection of songs that truly shows off the stunning voices of Will and Kate, brother and sister choristers!! They both sing with great musicality and feeling and the blend between their two voices is quite stunning and works so very well. At times I struggled to decide who was singing, which is a great compliment to them both. The repertoire is wide and challenging, but they rise to the challenge in every piece, singing with great understanding of each different genre. There are some delicious arrangements by producer, George Richford, and everything is beautifully accompanied by Malcolm Archer.” Simon Lole

Programme notes

Immortalised in Sydney Carter’s adaption Lord of the Dance, the original setting of Simple Gifts originated from the Shaker community of Alfred in Maine, North America. Thought to be composed in the mid-19th century by Alfred Brackett, it was transcribed by Aaron Copland and used in his Appalachian Spring ballet of 1944. This arrangement by George Arthur attempts to reconnect with the simplicity of the original setting and departs from the frenetic dance intended of the original. The voices weave an imitative thread over an accompaniment based on a single arpeggio. The right hand of the piano dances with Will and Kate as if turning around a circle at the very end.

Britten’s Corpus Christi Carol has the effect of casting us back to 16th century. The slowly falling figures in the piano draw us into a world of myths and legends and although the text references the Easter story, alternative interpretations point towards the location of the Holy Grail. The gentle lilting vocal line imitates a gentle folk-song or lullaby. The piece is completely uncluttered and uncomplicated but the effectiveness of such simple elements is plain to hear. Read more

About the artists

Kate James

kate-james-convivium-artistKate is fourteen years old. She studies voice at the Junior Royal Academy of Music. She trained as a Guildford Cathedral Chorister, winning the John Varney Chorister Award in 2018 and regularly performs with the Lady Eleanor Holles Singers.

2019 saw her selected as a finalist in the BBC Young Chorister competition, and she has enjoyed singing with the Royal Opera House in Hansel and Gretel (2018).

Kate has performed in venues across the UK, including The Royal Opera House, Guildford and Southwark Cathedrals, Cadogan Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Conservatoire and Town Hall. Internationally, she has performed at Radio City Music Hall, The Empire State Building and the United Nations Secretariat Building.

Kate has recorded with BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and the Herald Record Label.

Will James

will-james-convivium-artistIn 2020, Will is thirteen years old and he studies voice at the Junior Royal Academy of Music and is currently Head Chorister of Hampton Court Palace Chapel Royal Choir and King’s College School Chamber Choir.

He was delighted to be selected as a BBC2 Young Chorister Finalist in 2019. Will enjoyed treble roles with the Royal Opera House performances of Hansel and Gretel (2018) and Die Zauberflöte (2019).

Will has performed in numerous UK venues, including Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral and the cathedrals of Winchester, Canterbury, Salisbury, Guildford, Southwark. He has performed internationally at Salzburg, Vienna, Belfast, Armagh and Dublin.

He has recorded with Classic FM, BBC Radio 2, BBC4, the Resonus Classics and Acclaim Labels.

Malcolm Archer

Malcolm Archer has had a distinguished career in church music. He held the post of Organist and Director of Music at Bristol, Wells and St Paul’s Cathedral. He was subsequently Director of Chapel Music at Winchester College for eleven years.

Malcolm studied as an RCO scholar at the Royal College of Music and was Organ Scholar at Jesus College Cambridge. His organ teachers were Ralph Downes, Gillian Weir and Nicolas Kynaston.

As an organist and harpsichordist he is in frequent demand. He has given solo concerts all over the world, including the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Europe. His performances with orchestra have included Poulenc’s Organ Concerto and Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 and the Bach keyboard concertos. Malcolm has also performed with the London Symphony Orchestra in a classic rock concert in the Royal Albert Hall. Moreover, he has an extensive concert repertoire and has recorded a wide variety of works including J.S. Bach organ works and Messiaen’s La Nativité du Seigneur. Read more

  • Simple Gifts - trad. arr. George Arthur
  • Corpus Christi Carol - Benjamin Britten
  • Pie Jesu - John Brunning, arr. George Arthur
  • Sleep - Ivor Gurney
  • Angels - Guy Chambers & Robert Peter Williams, arr. George Arthur
  • Du bist die Ruh - Franz Schubert
  • Were you there? - trad. arr. George Arthur
  • Christmas Lullaby - John Rutter
  • Over the Rainbow - Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg, arr. George Arthur
  • Flow, my tears - John Dowland
  • O little town of Bethlehem - trad. arr. Bob Chilcott
  • The Turtle Dove - trad. arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • You Raise Me Up - Rolf Løvland & Brendan Graham, arr. Simon Lole
  • Sure On This Shining Night - Morten Lauridsen
  • When She Loved Me - Randy Newman
  • Lord of all hopefulness - trad. arr. George Arthur
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“I was delighted when I heard that Will & Kate wanted to record my setting of the Pie Jesu on their album ‘Over the Rainbow’. Both have beautiful voices, & George Arthur’s arrangement, combining words from Duruflé’s In Paradisum, takes the piece in a new and surprising direction.” John Brunning

“I made this arrangement of O Little Town of Bethlehem for performance by the finalists at BBC Chorister of the Year a few years ago, and it’s absolutely wonderful to hear it again, sung by Will and Kate.  The brother and sister duo have a purity of tone that you only hear in young voices, and this recording reminds me of the reasons that I love to work with young people.  They present it beautifully, and I am thrilled that they have chosen to sing it on their debut recording.  Thank you, Will and Kate.” Bob Chilcott

“It was a pleasure to arrange so many pieces especially for Will and Kate. Their voices share so many qualities whilst retaining their own individuality and this brings a particular quality to these songs. It was deeply moving to hear my new arrangement of ‘Over the Rainbow’, a song that has become so synonymous with the front-line staff and carers during this difficult year. They sing it with beauty and power.” George Arthur

“Will and Kate James are two very promising young musicians. They both have beautiful voices and on ‘Over the Rainbow’ they sing a variety of repertoire with sincerity and skill. It was a great pleasure to accompany them.” Malcolm Archer


Catalogue number: CR059

Treble Will James
Soprano Kate James
Piano Malcolm Archer
Cello Sarah Butcher
Engineer Ronan Phelan
Engineer Assist Michele Catri
Mastering Adaq Khan
Recording Location Master Chord Studios, London
Producer George Richford
Artist Photograph Hester Marriot
Artist Photograph Pip Eastop
Creative Director Mike Cooter
Executive Producer Adrian Green

Further information

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