1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two glorious pieces by Rutter
This recording of the Cambridge Singers has them recording pieces composed by their own director, John Rutter. The Magnificat is Rutter's version of a standard piece of liturgical music, an intersection of old and new. This was recorded at one of the Cambridge Singers' favourite venues, the Great Hall of University College School, London; the Requiem was recorded in 1986,...
Published on Feb 1 2006 by FrKurt Messick
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing vocal performance
Though the instrumental performance is adequate, I was quite disappointed with the choral performance in the requiem. The group's diction is not together, several of the soloists are weak, and the overall balance of choir and orchestra is not even.
Published on July 15 2003
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two glorious pieces by Rutter,
This review is from: John Rutter: Requiem & Magnificat (Audio CD)This recording of the Cambridge Singers has them recording pieces composed by their own director, John Rutter. The Magnificat is Rutter's version of a standard piece of liturgical music, an intersection of old and new. This was recorded at one of the Cambridge Singers' favourite venues, the Great Hall of University College School, London; the Requiem was recorded in 1986, and the Magnificat in 1991.
Rutter's Requiem was written in 1985. In Catholic liturgy, a requiem is a Mass for the Dead, and as such involves strong tones both of mourning and loss as well as elements of hope and eternal life as reflected in Christian belief. Rutter states that, like Brahms and Faure, there are elements that depart from the traditional lines of a Catholic requiem. Rutter takes some of the texts from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Both the first and second movements, Requiem aeternam and 'Out of the Deep', set very dark, low, sombre tones. The use of strings at the beginning of 'Out of the Deep' is very effective, together with funeral-dirge like vocals. This contrasts greatly with the Pie Jesu, light and spiritual. The Sanctus is almost playful in aspect, and the Agnus Dei and Lux aeterna draw the listener higher and higher into the fullness of expectation of God's presence.
--The Cambridge Singers--
This is impressive indeed - were this a vinyl recording, my copy of both the Requiem and the Magnificat most likely would be worn away by now.
5.0 out of 5 stars Much enjoyed,
This review is from: John Rutter: Requiem & Magnificat (Audio CD)Purchased this for three family members for Christmas - it was a HUGE hit! Everyone has REPEATEDLY told me that they love the album and this is from people who would not put choral music, or even classical music, on the top of their list of favorites. Beautiful, beautiful melodies.
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing vocal performance,
By A Customer
This review is from: John Rutter: Requiem & Magnificat (Audio CD)Though the instrumental performance is adequate, I was quite disappointed with the choral performance in the requiem. The group's diction is not together, several of the soloists are weak, and the overall balance of choir and orchestra is not even.
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling Fine Treatment of Sacred Texts,
This review is from: John Rutter: Requiem & Magnificat (Audio CD)Rutter certainly stands consideration as one of finest choral composers of our time.
Here his desire to take on Requiem and Magnificat are reverently approached with new settings not heard before. This is composer's considerable talent on display, performed admirably by Cambridge Singers and London Sinfonia.
Not since Bach have we heard such delicate, powerful music surrounding and uplifting such sacred words.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful requiem, best choir music,
This review is from: John Rutter: Requiem & Magnificat (Audio CD)John Rutter is one of most talented composers I know of. I would suggest any music by Rutter for any classical music "beginner". The Cambridge Singers give me chills every time I hear them.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Soaring, Graceful Requiem,
This review is from: John Rutter: Requiem & Magnificat (Audio CD)Why write another review when there are already so many? Because The Rutter Requiem is one of the most beautiful pieces of modern sacred music composed, and the Cambridge Singers execute it with graceful, soaring perfection. Rather than being about death, the Rutter Requiem is really composed for those left living. It is comforting, melodic, and uplifting.
This recording is conducted by the composer, which makes it particularly interesting. Rutter is one of the few composers who really conducts well. He frames his modern and sometimes dissonant harmony with masterful phrasing. The Cambridge Singers and London Sinfonia are responsive, and work together well. Some reviewers have criticized Caroline Ashton's Pie Jesu, but I disagree. The Pie Jesu movement of a requium is traditionally plantive, asking Christ's blessing, and Ashton's clear, light sound works quite well. Perhaps my favorite movement is "The Lord is my Shepherd" with an exquisite oboe solo by Quentin Poole.
This recording is like sitting in church, listening to a particularly good choir and orchestra perform a beautiful work, and it is well worth buying.
5.0 out of 5 stars consoling and beautiful,
This review is from: John Rutter: Requiem & Magnificat (Audio CD)Since 9-11 we are all in need of consolation and reassurance. John Rutter's lovely "Requiem" will provide solace for everyone; his music is universally appealing and will please all, not just those with advanced musical training or highly discerning ears. Lyrically beautiful, and filled with the interesting harmonies of British music of the modern period, the piece will soothe your soul. I often play it in the evening when it smooths away even the most trying day.
5.0 out of 5 stars Divine inspiration,
This review is from: John Rutter: Requiem & Magnificat (Audio CD)There are two schools of requiems: those that try to scare the living into being good (including those by Mozart, Berlioz, Verdi, and Webber) and those that try to console the grieving (including those by Brahms, Fauré, and Duruflé). Brahms has met his match in the Rutter Requiem!
The Rutter Requiem is fairly short, clocking in at approximately 35 minutes, but it is exquisite. I'd argue that every movement is perfectly composed. This recording shifts the balance away from the orchestra and towards the choir, but that helps to enhance the listener's connection to the Latin and English texts. Unfortunately, Caroline Ashton sounds tentative on the Pie Jesu, and she lacks the emotion and phrasing to pull off the movement. Besides that, the artistry of the recording is virtually flawless. Kudos to Donna Deam for a moving, pure, and clear solo in the final movement.
Movement I: Requiem aeternam / Kyrie. After a mysterious introduction, Rutter introduces a divinely inspired melody that will melt the hardest of hearts.
Movement II: Out of the deep (Psalm 130). A plaintive cello solo combines with the choir's plea for God to listen and show mercy.
Movement III: Pie Jesu. An exquisitely simple request for Jesus to grant the dead everlasting rest.
Movement IV: Sanctus. A joyous song of praise. I can understand those who find this movement repetitive and with too much emphasis on high-register instruments and voices.
Movement V: Agnus Dei. An incredible building up of a standard supplication, interspersed with excerpts from the Book of Common Prayer and flute solos that hearken back hundreds of years.
Movement VI: The Lord is my shepherd (Psalm 23). The apex of the requiem, a statement of faith and confidence, with lush strings and a beautiful oboe solo.
Movement VII: Lux aeterna. A reassuring conclusion, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord," before a return to the melody of the first movement.
The MAGNIFICAT has some truly wonderful moments of exhuberant joy and quiet reverence in it, but it cannot compare emotionally with the REQUIEM. (Personally, I don't especially care for the second movement.) Patricia Forbes has one of the best voices I've ever heard, especially well suited for the calm, lyrical, confident parts of movements IV and VI.
5.0 out of 5 stars Hauntigly beautiful and healing music,
This review is from: John Rutter: Requiem & Magnificat (Audio CD)I have loved this hauntingly beautiful piece of choral music ever since I first heard it several years ago, though I do not generally like contemporary music. In the wake of the events of 9/11 I found myself longing to hear it and pulled it off the shelf. I have found it healing to listen to and am brought to tears during parts of it. The performance is impeccable and listening to it takes me to a depth of experience of music that is rare and wonderful.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent performances, conducted by the composer,
This review is from: John Rutter: Requiem & Magnificat (Audio CD)This CD is a welcome mid-price CD coupling Rutter's two large-scale works, his "Requiem", composed after his father's death, and the more recent "Magnificat."
Rutter's "Requiem" clearly shows the influences of Gabriel Fauré's Requiem, composed about a century earlier, while his "Magnificat" is, in some ways, based on Bach's "Magnificat," especially in the interpolation of additional texts. Both are fairly straightforward pieces, well within the range of amateur choirs.
Both of the recordings feature clear singing from the choir, and subtle playing from the orchestra. My only complaint (a minor one at that) is that occasionally Rutter's forces seem a little too small in the first movement of the "Requiem," but the rapturous cello solo in the second movement, "Out of the Deep," more than makes up for this.
However, at mid-price, this CD is certainly a bargain; fans of the "Requiem" who are looking to acquire a copy certainly would not go wrong with this disc.
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John Rutter: Requiem & Magnificat by Donna Dean, Patricia Forbes, sopranos Caroline Ashton (Audio CD - 1998)