- Mass of the Children, for soprano, baritone, children's choir, adult choir & orchestra - John Rutter - Clare College Choir, Cambridge - Jeremy Huw Williams - Timothy Brown - Angharad Gruffydd Jones - James McVinney - Clare Chamber Ensemble - Farnham Youth Choir
- Shadows, song cycle for baritone & guitar - John Rutter - Samuel Daniel - Robert Herrick - Thomas Jordan - Henry King - Francis Quarles - Jeremy Huw Williams - Timothy Brown - Stewart French
- Wedding Canticle (Blessed are all they that fear the Lord), for flute, guitar & chorus - John Rutter - Clare College Choir, Cambridge - Daniel Pailthorpe - Timothy Brown - Stewart French
Rutter: Mass of the Childrenby Farnham Youth Choir
What the listener will think of this CD will depend partly on what he or she thinks of Rutter's musical rendition of sentimentalist religion. It's nicely executed here -- as nicely as on Rutter's own recordings with his handpicked choir -- by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, under Timothy Brown. And the two outer works on the album are recent compositions that provide full efflorescences of his style. The "Mass of the Children" neatly pairs a children's choir with tropes Rutter has selected for the brevis version of the Latin mass (there is no Credo): the children, or adult soloists, are given texts drawn from English poetry or old prayer books. Hearing the children chime in with William Blake's poem "The Lamb" will either charm the pants off you or cloy thoroughly, depending on your perspective, but you won't sleep through it. The "Wedding Canticle" that closes the album was written by Rutter for Brown, who may thus be trusted as an interpreter of Rutter's music. The balance between the choir and the unusual accompanimental group of flute and guitar is very sensitive. This release may likewise be a good choice even for those unimpressed by the Rutter phenomenon. The reason is the song cycle "Shadows," which occupies the central eight tracks. This early work (from 1979) is nonreligious, although it does draw on texts, mostly from the sixteenth century, that speak of how life is transitory and brief. Perhaps Rutter's best quality is his knowledge of English poetry and his way of finding simple, distinctive musical ways of expressing old poems. Sample his setting of the "Sonnet" by Samuel Daniels, track 8; it's a wonderful musical representation of troubled sleep. Here again Rutter handles an unusual combination skillfully; the pair of baritone voice and guitar poses unique challenges of register, but their partnership in Rutter's hands is smooth and harmonious. The sound, recorded in a small English school chapel and in a country church, is unusually good, which is another requirement for satisfying performances of Rutter.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsFarnham Youth Choir Primary Artist
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This is a brilliant exciting performance and composition. It was much better than anticipated.