George Guest

Biography

Born: February 9, 1924; Bangor, ME   Died: November 20, 2002; Bangor, ME  
George Guest is generally regarded among the finest British choral conductors of his time. Some musicologists have attributed the endurance, if not the very survival, of the English cathedral choir to him. He made more than 60 recordings with St. John's Choir (Cambridge), covering a broad range of repertory (Palestrina and Mozart to Tippett and Lennox Berkeley) and garnering consistent critical acclaim.

Guest was born in Bangor, Wales,
Read more on February 19, 1924. He attended the Friars school in his hometown and became a chorister by age 9 at the local cathedral. At 11 he sang in the choir at Chester Cathedral while taking private lessons to develop his keyboard skills. After serving four years in the Royal Air Force during World War II, he returned to Chester Cathedral as sub-organist in 1946. The following year he enrolled at St. John's under an organ scholarship, studying with Thurston Dart and Boris Ord. In 1951 the choir director, Robin Orr, resigned to focus on composition, leaving the post to Guest.

In the coming years, Guest, not least because of a healthy rivalry with David Willcocks who was director of the Choir of King's College, vastly improved St. John's choral standards. Beginning in the mid-'50s, Guest and his choir began appearing regularly on radio broadcasts, and in 1958 he made his first recording with the group, Mendelssohn's Hear My Prayer, for the English label Argo. At Cambridge he became a lecturer in 1956, then the university's organist in 1974. In the mid-'70s Guest's growing interest in French music yielded two acclaimed recordings, the Duruflé Requiem and a collection of Fauré works. In 1978 Guest was elected president of the Royal College of Organists, serving in the post for two years. He retired from university lecturing in 1982, but continued his work with St. John's Choir, both in concert and on recordings, as well as in performances abroad. In 1991 Guest retired both from his directorship of St. John's Choir and from his organ post. He died on November 20, 2002. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 56 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Decca Sound [Repackaged Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434502 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 2.
    Haydn: Complete Masses, Stabat Mater
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002260302 Release Date: 02/03/2015   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Alfreda Hodgson,  Arleen Augér,  Gwynne Howell  ... 
    Conductor:  Laszlo Heltay,  Simon Preston,  John Eliot Gardiner,  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Argo Chamber Orchestra,  Academy of Ancient Music,  Christ Church Cathedral Choir  ... 
    CD: $32.99
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  • 3.
    Britten: The Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001880702 Release Date: 08/13/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Rachel Masters,  Viola Tunnard,  Gillian Saunders,  Patricia Garrod  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten,  Stephen Cleobury,  George Guest,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
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    CD: $39.99
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  • 4.
    EMI Eminence - The Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 393872 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  David Nolan,  Jonathan Small,  George Malcolm,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Anton Rickenbacher,  Vernon Handley,  George Guest,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir  ... 
    CD: $154.99
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  • 5.
    Faure: Requiem; Pavane
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001706502 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré
    Performer:  Thomas Allen,  Sylvia [Soprano Vocals] McNair,  John Birch,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  George Guest,  Jean Fournet
    CD: $6.99
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  • 6.
    Label: Heritage   Catalog: 239 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Stainer,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest
    CD: $12.99
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  • 7.
    Byrd: Masses For 4 And 5 Voices / Guest, St. John's College Choir
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 62015 Release Date: 01/04/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Byrd
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
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    ArkivCD $17.99
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  • 8.
    Voices From Heaven: Choral Music From St. John's College Of Cambridge
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1341 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Duruflé,  Herbert Howells
    Performer:  William Clements,  Iain Farrington,  John Todd,  Kathryn Turpin  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Robinson,  George Guest
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    CD: $9.99
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  • 9.
    Victoria: Responsories For Tenebrae / Malcolm, Westminster Cathedral Choir
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425078 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tomás Luis de Victoria
    Conductor:  George Guest,  George Malcolm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Westminster Cathedral Choir
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    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 10.
    Ave Maria
    Label: London/Decca Weekend Classics   Catalog: 421029 Release Date: 01/07/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Peter White,  Felicity Palmer,  Erna Spoorenberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  George Guest,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Wyn Morris  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Wren Orchestra  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 11.
    Charpentier; Poulenc: French Choral Works
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10448 Release Date: 04/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Marc-Antoine Charpentier
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
    CD: $11.99
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  • 12.
    Palestrina: Missa Assumpta Est Maria, Etc / Guest, Choir Of St. John's
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 433678 Release Date: 10/12/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Palestrina
    Performer:  Thomas Hunt,  Michael Turner,  John Tudhope
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 13.
    Ultimate Vivaldi - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000972802 Release Date: 09/11/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Alan Cuckston,  Denis Vigay,  Ida Levin  ... 
    Conductor:  Iona Brown,  Sir Neville Marriner,  George Guest,  George Malcolm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti di Napoli,  I Solisti di Napoli Orchestra,  Los Romeros
    CD: $21.99
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  • 14.
    Haydn: Heiligmesse;  Mozart: Litany, K 243 / George Guest
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430158 Release Date: 08/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Ian Partridge,  Christopher Keyte,  April Cantelo,  Shirley Minty  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wren Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 15.
    Haydn: Theresienmesse;  M Haydn, Mozart / George Guest
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430159 Release Date: 07/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Michael Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  John Mitchinson,  Willard White,  Tom Krause,  Bernadette Greevy  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
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  • 16.
    Britten: A Ceremony Of Carols, Rejoice In The Lamb, Etc
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430097 Release Date: 06/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 17.
    Haydn: Harmoniemesse;  Mozart: Vespers, K 321 / George Guest
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430162 Release Date: 06/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Stephen Roberts,  Margaret Cable,  Margaret Marshall,  Wynford Evans
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Wren Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 18.
    Haydn: Schöpfungsmesse;  Mozart: Spaur-messe / George Guest
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430161 Release Date: 06/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Robert Tear,  Helen Watts,  April Cantelo,  Felicity Palmer  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wren Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 19.
    Purcell: Te Deum & Jubilate / Guest, Bowman, Cleobury, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Serenata Series   Catalog: 430263 Release Date: 06/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell
    Performer:  Charles Brett,  Forbes Robinson,  Robert [boy soprano] Smith,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Symphoniae Sacrae Consort of Sackbuts
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 20.
    Schubert: Mass No 6 In E-flat Major D 950 / George Guest
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430362 Release Date: 06/11/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 21.
    Dvorak: Mass, Op 86;  Liszt: Missa Choralis / Preston, Guest
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430364 Release Date: 04/18/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Nicholas Cleobury,  Alan [Tenor Vocal] Byers,  Neil Ritchie,  Robert Morton  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest,  Simon Preston
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Christ Church Cathedral Choir
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 22.
    Schubert: Mass In A-flat, Mass In C / George Guest
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430363 Release Date: 04/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Conductor:  David Atherton,  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta,  London Sinfonietta Chorus,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 23.
    Ultimate Classics - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000766302 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jeremiah Clarke,  Edvard Grieg,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Elgar Howarth,  Philip Jones,  Nigel Kennedy,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest,  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Mozart Ensemble
    CD: $21.99
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  • 24.
    Essential Choral Classics
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000691802 Release Date: 06/13/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Orff,  George Frideric Handel,  Gregorio Allegri,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Roy Goodman,  Alastair Hussain,  Bryn Terfel,  Norma Burrowes  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Sir David Willcocks,  Stephen Cleobury,  Paul Daniel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Chamber Choir,  FACE Treble Choir  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 25.
    The Ultimate Relaxation Christmas Album Ii
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000535502 Release Date: 10/11/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  James Pierpont,  Franz Schubert,  César Franck,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Stephen Cleobury,  Stephen Goss  ... 
    Conductor:  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani,  Kurt Herbert Adler,  Barry Rose,  George Guest  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Annunzio Paolo Mantovani Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $15.99
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