Notes and Editorial Reviews
John Rutter a composer of orchestral music? Who knew? Actually, most of this music has its roots in the composer's choral settings or works with vocal music. A Distant Land and Five Meditations for Orchestra are all arrangements of choral pieces, while the Suite for Strings is a series of charming folk-song settings. On the other hand, Suite Antique, for flute, harpsichord, and strings, is all original music and is every bit as charming as the performing forces suggest. The final Rondeau is as catchy as anything similar by Poulenc, and I suspect its main tune will be stuck in your head long after the final notes sound.
The Beatles Concerto is a panic. Composed for duo pianists Peter Rostal and Paul Schaefer, it treats these famous tunes (about eight of them) in the style of Rachmaninov or Tchaikovsky. Fans of those composers will recognize all of their grand, rhetorical gestures appearing in this surprising context. Rutter's sweetly lyrical treatment of "She Loves You (Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!)" in the first movement is worth the price of the disc, and the two dedicatees have a blast with the flashily decorative keyboard writing. The sonics are generally fine if a bit hollow and lacking in opulence in the concerto--but as expected, the performances under Rutter's direction are excellent. A delightful surprise.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com