Mass No. 2 in E minor; Motets
Henry Websdale, Donal McCann (organ); Academy of St Martin in the Fields; Choir of King’s College, Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury
King’s College KGS0035 57:06 mins
Until he was in his early 40s, Bruckner’s time was largely taken up with being an organist (the greatest of his time) and writing liturgical and devotional works for the churches where he was employed. They deserve to be better known, and this disc, Sir Stephen Cleobury’s last recording before his death last year, contains some of Bruckner’s most devotional writing.
Living opposite King’s for 40 years, I used to drop into the chapel to listen to the celebrated choir from time to time, and was delighted to hear the famous ‘King’s sound’ become fuller and less traditionally Anglican. It needed to be for music like this, where there is a masculine fulness and often a robust wind accompaniment. Mostly the pieces here are austere, and none approaches the grandeur of Bruckner’s biggest choral works. But they are unostentationally moving, and never more than on this, Cleobury’s last disc.
We named the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge one of the greatest choirs in the world