WORKS: Requiem; Veni sancte spiritus; What Sweeter Music; Hymn to the Creator of Light; Te Deum,
PERFORMER: Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, City of London Sinfonia, Wallace Collection/Stephen Cleobury
CATALOGUE NO: CDC 5 56605 2
There can be no doubt that this latest recording of John Rutter’s Requiem and other liturgical choir works admits the listener to precisely the sound-world the composer intends. The Requiem (this is the orchestral version) interweaves English psalm settings with parts of the Latin Requiem, consciously emphasising the ‘Rest eternal… may light perpetual shine on them’ and cutting out the ‘dread day of judgement’ aspect of the commemoration. Accordingly, the musical antecedents here are the gentle, flowingly lyrical Requiems of Fauré and Duruflé; but there is a quality of inspiration in the work, melodically and rhythmically, which can be described as sentimentality in the original sense of ‘exhibiting refined and elevated feeling’.
Even more rewarding, however, because stylistically much more diverse, are the five accompanying anthems. Rutter is an acutely sensitive setter of words: the unaccompanied Hymn to the Creator of Light is a bracing and musically contiguous homage to Herbert Howells, and in the Te Deum, accompanied regally by brass and organ, Rutter aligns himself firmly with the centuries-old tradition of English liturgical music. The habitual cool professionalism of the King’s choristers displayed throughout the recording cannot mask the relish with which the boy soloists deliver Rutter’s arching melodies – a highly recommended release. Graeme Kay