Rutter Gloria; Magnificat; Te Deum
Although best known for his many carols and anthems, John Rutter is equally adept at handling music on a larger canvas. His reflective Requiem (now 25 years old) is an established classic. Much the same can be said of the evergreen 1974 setting of the Gloria, Rutter’s first major overseas commission. Its incisive, punchy, syncopated brass opening lingers memorably, setting the scene for some spectacular, polished and vibrant singing. The notoriously taxing finale is accomplished without a wobble, resulting in a deeply satisfying performance.
By way of lighter contrast, the Magnificat (1990) is imbued with a Latin-flavoured atmosphere of fiesta and celebration, the streetwise “Fecit potentiam” movement receiving a really mean and moody attack. What a delight it is to hear the chamber version and to marvel at Rutter’s scoring finesse, in particular his wind-writing, which is a model of effectiveness. Soprano soloist Elizabeth Cragg is especially melting in the delicious “Esurientes” movement.
The disc concludes with the 1988 setting of the Te Deum (not to be confused with the more recent Winchester Te Deum). While initially less arresting than the disc’s other works, the big tune towards the end is worthy of Walton, whose ceremonial spirit hovers over this beautiful music.
Andrew Lucas’s St Albans choristers (particularly the girls and boys, united on the top line) are on sparkling form, with first-class support from organist Tom Winpenny and the Ensemble DeChorum who scrupulously adhere to every one of the score’s markings. More recordings from St Albans, please – and could someone ask Rutter to score a major film?