WORKS: Requiem; Out of the Deep; Pie Jesu; Sanctus; Agnus Dei; Variations on an Easter Theme
PERFORMER: Choir of Clare College, Cambridge/ Timothy Brown; Nicholas Rimmer (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.557130
A prayer more for the comfort of the living than the salvation of the departed, John Rutter’s Requiem follows the example of Brahms in its use of texts additional to those of the Missa pro defunctis, and of Fauré in its emollient liaison with grief. The affective weight of every phrase is precisely measured, firstly by the composer, and secondly, in this recording, by this collegiate choir so closely associated with his output over many years. Drama in this overtly reflective score lies in the unusual relation of its parts: anguish is translated from the opening Requiem aeternam to the Agnus Dei, and the hope of consolation which closes the first movement is turned to lament in the following blues-like De profundis.
If the Requiem’s genuinely emotive tone explains its continuing popularity, then the tough-minded language of several pieces from a group of occasional items, also anthologised here, point to a greater stylistic range than that with which the composer is often and unfairly credited. One example is the anthem Come down, O love divine, its dense lyricism well served by these performers. Another is the organ duet Variations on an Easter Theme, surely a major contribution to this unusual genre. Nicholas Williams