The Piano Collection – A Flower Remembered; A Clare Benediction; For the Beauty of the Earth; Be Thou My Vision; Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace; A Gaelic Blessing; All Things Bright and Beautiful; The Lord Bless You and Keep You
Wayne Marshall (piano)
Decca 481 9758 (Digital Only) 19:68 mins
Not everyone spent lockdown baking sourdough, curtain twitching and doing Joe Wicks workouts: composer John Rutter used the time to rescore some of his best-loved works for solo piano, recorded here by Wayne Marshall from his home studio in Malta.
Rutter’s enormous choral output includes many large-scale works (such as Requiem, Mass of the Children and Visions). Sensibly, he has chosen less densely textured music for these eight arrangements; A Clare Benediction (originally for SAB) is particularly effective, while Be Thou My Vision (SATB and harp or piano) sits neatly under ten fingers.
There are some casualties, though. All Things Bright and Beautiful sounds too much like a Disney song. It’s partly because these versions are intentionally fairly simple, created for intermediate musicians who are unable to participate in their usual ensembles – where they might enjoy Rutter’s originals – to play and/or listen to at home. Companion sheet music is available via Oxford University Press. These aren’t pieces that you’d necessarily want to hear as part of a professional recital, but as an educational tool they work extremely well. Purist Rutterians will prefer the simultaneous reissue of Stanford and Howells Remembered, a newly remastered and extended two-CD set of Cambridge Singers’ 1992 recording on Collegium Records, also featuring Marshall – this time on the organ.) The Piano Collection is a thoughtful and timely package, though, delivered with impressive agility from all involved.