Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

WORKS: Eternal Light: A Requiem
PERFORMER: Naatasha Marsh (soprano), Alfie Boe (tenor), Christopher Maltman (baritone); Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford; London Musici/Stephen Darlington
CATALOGUE NO: 215 0472


Best known for some clever and catchy TV theme tunes, Howard Goodall also bangs the drum effectively for music in the wider arena. His substantial new Requiem doesn’t set the standard Latin text. Like Britten in his War Requiem, he incorporates English poetry, selecting from a range of writers where Britten sticks to one. What disappoints about the result is that there’s no comparable range in the music itself. It repeatedly covers the same harmonic territory, while rhythmically things are even flatter. There are many reminiscences of other composers – Fauré, Britten, Howells, Tavener, Adams et al – that its own limited sense of identity cannot accommodate without generating unflattering comparisons, and there’s a constant tendency to teeter over from the simple to the simplistic. The best thing here is his genuinely attractive setting of ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ (The Vicar of Dibley), though even here attention starts to wander in the unfamiliar middle section. A very able team of performers are captured here in good sound. George Hall