- Te Deum for chorus, organ & orchestra - John Rutter - Andrew Lucas - St. Alban Cathedral Choir - Tom Winpenny - Ensemble DeChorum
- Magnificat for soprano, chorus & orchestra - John Rutter - Elizabeth Cragg - Andrew Lucas - St. Alban Cathedral Choir - Tom Winpenny - Ensemble DeChorum
- Gloria for chorus & brass ensemble - John Rutter - Andrew Lucas - St. Alban Cathedral Choir - Tom Winpenny - Ensemble DeChorum
Rutter: Gloria; Magnificat; Te Deumby Andrew Lucas
John Rutter's "Gloria" is probably his most frequently recorded large-scale piece. Written in 1974, it was his first major international commission and remains one of his most popular works. He was given explicit instructions to make it accessible, "so that a non-specialist audience could enjoy the music on first hearing," and that approach has characterized the bulk of his output, resulting in a divided assessment of his work: popularity with many audiences, but dismissiveness from critics and many professional musicians. The 40-minute "Magnificat" (1990) and "Te Deum" (1988) inhabit much the same aesthetic sphere as the Gloria: lyrical, perkily melodious, and, depending on one's perspective, either skillfully or slickly constructed. The album features the choirs of St. Alban Cathedral and Ensemble DeChorum, led by Andrew Lucas, and soprano soloist Elizabeth Cragg.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsAndrew Lucas Primary Artist
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For over 30 years, John Rutter has been one of the most popular of English composers; though probably most famous for his Christmas carols--both original and arranged--he has also written longer works of sacred music, three of which are found here. (The Requiem and "Mass of the Children" have already been recorded by Naxos, with different artists.) As these are concert pieces, rather than liturgical, the composer has some fun with various musical styles (I love the Elgar-like "big tune" at the end of the Te Deum), infectious rhythms and colorful harmonies, and that fun comes across in the performances, too. Most other recordings are by a mixed chorus, so to hear the boys and girls voices on the top line adds a slightly different color. The sound is good, even if the tenors get buried under the instruments a few times. Notes by the composer, and texts.
John Rutter has captured the admiration of many school and church choirs with his modern settings of religious texts. His compositions have improved the image of English music that is easily understood and performed by amateur choirs. These three works call for choir and soloists, instruments less than full orchestra, and traditional Latin texts, all within the skill level of school/choir singers and performers. The first two works were commissions from U.S. organizations, and the Te Deum a request from a British guild. Comments from performers and audiences alike invariably reflect the joyous exuberance woven into these songs of praise. The setting of St. Alban's Cathedral just north of London and the beautiful and ancient history of this pre-Roman site provide a welcoming embrace for Mr. Rutter's accomplishments. It is as if he is returning home. The very best about this recording is the skill of the performers. The St. Albans Abbey Girls Choir and the St. Albans Cathedral Choir of boys keep an energetic pace, Elizabeth Cragg's beautiful soprano soars above the choir, and the organ and instruments of the Ensemble DeChorum provide substance and texture. There is much unison singing, and there are numerous time changes throughout, but these do not distract the audience during the performance. The listener perceives airiness, lightness, ethereal shimmering, and joy. The pace and lightness of the voices reflect the intent of the composer for the expression of simplicity, participation, traditional texts, and joyous worship.