Codebreaker and Ode to a Nightingale

James McCarthy’s Codebreaker and Will Todd’s setting of Ode to a Nightingale have been released on CD and on-line by Signum records.

The two pieces were recorded at Watford Colosseum in June 2016 with the BBC Concert Orchestra, soprano Julia Doyle, conducted by David Temple, produced by Nigel Short and launched on 7th October 2017 at a concert in St Albans Cathedral.


‘This important release should be in every keen choral singer’s Christmas stocking. This generous two-disc release from Signum presents two recent important additions to the genre, launched with their customary bright and rich tone by the Hertfordshire Chorus under their indefatigable conductor, David Temple.’ Malcolm Riley, Gramophone

Codebreaker is an exceptional achievement on numerous counts. What really hits home is its warmth, compassion and emotional ardour. Will Todd’s engaging Choral Symphony No. 4, setting Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale”, is a sizeable, texturally rich and beautifully orchestrated essay.’ Rob Cowan, Classical Ear

‘What we have here is honest, unpretentious music that touches the human soul, and that is what matters. For me, this is undoubtedly the choral album of the year.’ TA Konsgaard, The High Arts Review, Rating Gold 5*

‘I adore the sound of a superbly recorded orchestra and chorus performing modern yet melodic music, and we have that here, in spades! James McCarthy is superbly served by all involved in making this recording. The booklet contains essays by both composers and full texts. I give a thorough recommendation to this issue.’ Jim Westhead, MusicWeb International

Stream from Spotify, Apple Music or for a High Fidelity experience, from TIDAL

Listen to clips and buy the CD here.

This music deserves to be performed by choirs around the world.

Full and chamber orchestra versions of the Codebreaker are published by Stainer & Bell.
If you want to know more about about orchestral forces and performance requirements, please send an email to

Codebreaker – by James McCarthy

James composed this emotional oratorio about the life of Alan Turing, the “father of computer science”, whose genius in breaking the German naval Enigma code saved millions of lives but who was later prosecuted for homosexuality by the government and subsequently committed suicide.

Watch this film, recorded at Bletchley Park, to hear James McCarthy and David Temple talking about the piece.

Ode to a Nightingale – by Will Todd

Named by Will as his 4th choral symphony, this piece is a sumptuous setting of Ode to a Nightingale, the famous poem by Keats.

Watch this video about the development of the music, culminating in its premiere – and hear from Will, David Temple, Hertfordshire Chorus singers and Chorus Patron Rod Jones about the piece.

Rod Jones was a long-standing supporter of Hertfordshire Chorus. As a gift to his wife, Rachel, who is a member of the Chorus, in 2011 he generously sponsored this commission. He was a true friend who will be very much missed.