RUTTER: Visions; Requiem – The Temple Boys Choir/ Roger Sayer – Aurora Orch. – Collegium

JOHN RUTTER: Visions; Requiem – The Temple Boys Choir/ Roger Sayer – Aurora Orch./ solo violin: Kerson Leong – Collegium COLCD 139, 58:00 (10/18/16) ****:

Something new and something old from John Rutter.

This new CD pairs John Rutter’s most recent work with one of his most popular. Visions celebrates the utopian ideal of heavenly peace in in four movements, written specially for the solo violin of Kerson Leong, string ensemble and the boy choristers of the Temple Church choir. The Requiem of 1985 receives a significant new recording under the guidance of its composer.

Visions was composed at the invitation of the 2016 Menuhin Competition and premiered at a Festival concert in London’s historic Temple Church by Kerson Leong, winner of the 2010 Junior Menuhin Prize, and the Choristers of Temple Church. They are joined by the Cambridge Singers and the young and vibrant Aurora Orchestra.

Visions is a strikingly beautiful piece, lovingly played and artfully executed. The work is based on four biblical texts. Rutter has a large following, so this new work is certain to be well received and talked about.

I think the appeal of the Requiem is Rutter’s conducting. The work has plenty of energy, and it’s not a traditional requiem, but rather texts selected by the composer. It is, in Rutter’s words, intimate rather than grand. It will be a familiar work to many fans of Rutter’s music, but it’s a very worthwhile addition to the catalog.

The recording is absolutely superb. Done at All Hallows Church in London, it is very well engineered to capture the sound of the hall, and the subtleties of the music. It’s as good as a CD can sound, but I would have loved to hear this in high resolution. Voices and strings are crystal clear, and the music is inspiring and a joy to listen to. So one new Rutter, one classic Rutter, recorded at the highest standard and the performance is faultless.

Highly recommended!

—Mel Martin

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