WORKS: Gloria I-III; Te Deum
PERFORMER: Polyphony, City of London Sinfonia, The Wallace Collection/Stephen Layton; Andrew Lumsden (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67259
John Rutter’s output of sacred choral works is immense, and these vibrant performances amply demonstrate the qualities that give the repertoire its lasting and popular appeal. The pieces recorded here attest, in particular, to Rutter’s success in the United States. However, it is the irresistible inevitability of these scores (representative of Rutter’s style) and the sheer technical refinement of the singing that will attract collectors.
In a magnificent rendering of the Gloria, choir, organ and brass make a powerfully dramatic impact richly enhanced by the splendidly reverberant Winchester Cathedral acoustic. There is comparable brilliance in the similarly scored Praise the Lord and Te Deum (which ends the programme) and the lush unaccompanied choral textures of Come down, O Love divine. The mellifluous lyricism of pieces such as To everything there is a season and I will lift up mine eyes reveal Rutter’s more intimate side.
Elsewhere, the musicians demonstrate Rutter’s consummate gift for sweetly harmonised caressing melodies that continue to haunt the memory. The fluid clarinet-playing in The Lord is my light and my salvation and the glowing radiance of Thy perfect love are just two such instances in a concert that will bring widespread comfort and joy. Nicholas Rast