WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Rutter: Requiem / Layton, Polyphony, Bournemouth Sinfonietta


Release Date: 10/12/2010 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 30017   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth SinfoniettaPolyphony
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

John Rutter composed his Requiem in 1985. The work follows the precedents of Brahms and Fauré in using carefully selected texts in place of much of the standard Missa Pro defunctis sequence. The resulting composition has an arch-like formal structure within which is contained some of Rutter's most haunting (and, in the case of The Lord is my shepherd, well known) choral music to date.

Also included are two items from the Birthday Madrigals collection composed in honour of the jazz pianist George Shearing, and eight further sacred works. The double-choir Hymn to the Creator of Light is a wonderful composition, far removed from the romantic style with which Rutter has sometimes been associated; the work here receives its
Read more first recording. The Lord bless you and keep you makes a most felicitous ending to the programme—one of those tunes that just will not leave your head.

R E V I E W S:

It seems perverse, in a necessarily brief review, to make a mystery or a penance where essentially all is delight. In his short introductory notes John Rutter speaks very frankly of his own position: "I found out a long time ago that if a composer's music starts to reach too many people, it pretty soon gets attacked by those who would prefer the non-specialist public to be kept at arm's length" and (of the Requiem) "I suppose that some will find the sense of comfort and consolation in it facile, but it was what I meant at the time I wrote it, in the shadow of a bereavement of my own." The personal element in both sentences is perfectly acceptable and understandable, yet something is not quite squarely put. If "facile" is a word that might relevantly come into play, it need not be with regard to the "comfort and consolation" (it conceivably could have something to do with the music itself); and if the relatively popular composer's work is indeed "attacked", that may not be entirely out of a wish for exclusiveness. But let's try to put the issue squarely ourselves. Here is music finely crafted, written with love for the art and an especial care for choral sound. It is melodious without being commonplace, harmonically rich without being sticky, modern in the graceful way of a child who grows up responsive to newness but not wanting to kick his elders in the teeth. He gives us, in large measure, the heart's desire: we listen saying "Ali yes!" and with a half-foreseen satisfaction "Yes, of course! Lovely!" But he's on too familiar terms with our heart's desires, doesn't extend them, or surprise us into realizing that they were deeper and subtler than we thought.

This is by way of cautiously savouring a remembered taste, which could readily be indulged without perceived need for an interval: one item leads to another and before we know it the pleasurable hour is over. The Requiem itself lasts for 36 minutes; the other pieces vary from under two minutes to just over six. Most are unaccompanied and show the choir of 25 voices as another of those expert groups of assured and gifted professionals that are among the principal adornments of modern musical life. Their capacity as a virtuoso choir is tested in the Cantate Domino and Choral Fanfare, but Rutter writes for real singers (not just singermusicians) and their tone is unfailingly beautiful. Rosa Mannion and Libby Crabtree are excellent soloists, as indeed are the three instrumentalists named in the notes. In the accompanied works the balance between singers and players is well judged, and the booklet is produced with Hyperion's customary good taste and helpfulness.

-- Gramophone [8/1997]

-------------------

With ony 25 singers in Polyphony (and an all-male alto section to boot) this is an intimate, more chaste Rutter than you're used to hearing in the composer's own accounts of his music. It all works very nicely, though, because the singing is gorgeous....There's beautiful music here, the performances are classy and full of finesse, and the sound is out of this world...

-- American Record Guide [11-12/1997]
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Requiem by John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Sinfonietta,  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985; England 
2.
Hymn to the Creator of Light by John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1992; England 
Language: English 
3.
God be in my head by John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Language: English 
4.
A Gaelic Blessing by John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Sinfonietta,  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Language: English 
5.
Open thou mine eyes by John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Language: English 
6.
Cantate Domino by John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; England 
7.
A prayer of St Patrick by John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
8.
A Choral Fanfare by John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
9.
Birthday Madrigals: no 2, Draw on, sweet night by John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994; England 
10.
Birthday Madrigals: no 4, My true love hath my heart by John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Sinfonietta,  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994; England 
11.
Lord bless you and keep you by John Rutter
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Sinfonietta,  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In