- Gloria for chorus & brass ensemble - John Rutter - John Rutter - Choir of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge - Choir of King's College, Cambridge - City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Stephen Cleobury - Geoffrey Webber - Paul Mitchell
- Magnificat for soprano, chorus & orchestra - John Rutter - John Rutter - Choir of King's College, Cambridge - City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Stephen Cleobury - Geoffrey Webber - Paul Mitchell - Sam Landman - Fergus Thirlwell - Tom Winpenney
- Psalm 150, for soloists, choir & organ (or brass, timpani & organ) - John Rutter - John Rutter - Choir of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge - Choir of King's College, Cambridge - City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Stephen Cleobury - Geoffrey Webber - Paul Mitchell - Ashley Grote - Sam Landman - Fergus Thirlwell - Christopher Beale
One might think that setting the Gloria and Magnificat texts would call forth stylistically quintessential works from a composer, but oddly enough the John Rutter settings recorded here are, by the composer's own admission, not typical. Rutter, in an interview in the enclosed booklet, candidly describes his usual sound as "honeyed," but these are more festive and flamboyant works -- actually likely to be surprisingly attractive for those who've never been very enthusiastic about Rutter, but perhaps not to the taste of those wanting a sunny-sweet Gloria. The "Magnificat," written in 1990, draws on several exotic traditions -- showing once again Rutter's broad range of acquaintance with British music as well as literature, it evokes the flirtation with jazz in the music of composers like Malcolm Arnold and William Walton. Rutter even describes the bombastic "Fecit potentiam" movement as "thoroughly nasty," and the work as a whole has more energy than one is used to with Rutter. Other choral movements are flavored with the simple polyrhythms of Latin American devotional music, and the solos have hints of Broadway. The early Gloria is a more conventional work, but here too Rutter avoids compact, calm sections in favor of larger brass-ensemble conceptions. The question for Rutter fans may be whether to select this recording, with the all-male Choir of King's College and the City of Birmingham Symphony, or a similar one featuring Rutter's own Cambridge Singers. It's a close choice, with plenty of expertise and sheer tonal beauty coming from both choirs. It may be that women, for whom Rutter originally wrote his soprano and alto parts, come closer to the innocence-willfully regained quality that lurks in his music, but there's also plenty of interest in hearing the venerable King's College choristers attack Rutter, whose music has spread throughout the entire choral universe despite the presence of a hard core of detractors who react to mention of his name with the same visceral dislike American Democrats bring to discussions of the presidency of George W. Bush. Those not in that category should sample the solo sections of this CD and determine whether boy sopranos in Rutter are to their liking.