Rutter: Gloria (CD Review -, 2001)

As demonstrated on Rutter-Gloria and other Sacred Music, John Rutter is what happens when you mix some Fauré, Walton, Britten and touch of Sondheim in a bowl and simmer gently. It's no recipe for credibility among the front ranks of contemporary music. But as often happens with composers who shop around for inspiration, the result turns out to be something oddly personal. Rutter writes with elegance and clarity and a melodic gift exactly suited to his purpose, which is almost always choral music. And this is the second disc which Stephen Layton's outstanding professional choir, Polyphony, has devoted to his work. The pieces here are of a lesser calibre than on the first Choral Works but notable for a striking, macaronic adaptation of the Francis Quarles text "I my Best-Beloved's am", as well as the haunting beauty of the biblical "To everything there is a season". And it's hard not to enjoy the sheer, bare-faced bravura of the way the Gloria out-Waltons Walton. To hear this music is to understand how Rutter has effectively become in-house composer to the Anglican Communion.

Michael White 

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