Rutter: Requiem (CD Review - The Singer, 1997)

Hyperion have done John Rutter proud with this disc, and he them. The Requiem, for all its acknowledged influences, works as a coherent whole. Amid its well-judged alternation of dark and light textures, an optimism prevails, but one that is never glutinous. This is a Requiem free of 'Dies Irae'; soft tympani sound a warning in the 'Agnus', and the Burial Service text 'Man that is born' its note of reconciliation with death: but the encounter is a serene one, and not facile for that.

Cello, horn, flute, harp and Rosa Mannion, splendid in middle register as well as in the Pie Jesu's exquisite rising close, uplift this top-notch Bournemouth offering. Polyphony bring meticulous balance and intonation to bear throughout. Amid ten generous fillers, an extra take might have helped lift two slightly more humdrum tracks, or improve the odd slurred final consonant. The madrigal setting, Draw on Sweet Night and Hymn to the Creator (Tavener evolving, enticingly, into Poulenc) are first rate. Producer Mark Brown works wonders with Hyperion's balancing.

Roderick Dunnet

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