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John Rutter (b.1945): Visions; Requiem / Kerson Leong, violin; Alice Halstead, soprano

Album Summary

>Rutter, John : Visions, for violin, chorus & string orchestra
>Rutter, John : Requiem
Performers Conductors Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

John Rutter's latest major work Visions is a four-movement showpiece for solo violin, string orchestra, harp and choir of treble voices, based on the theme of Jerusalem, the Holy City of prophetic imaginations. It 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 the Temple Church. They are joined by the Cambridge Singers and the young and vibran tAurora Orchestra. Requiem, one of Rutter's most well-known and widely-performed pieces, was originally recorded by John Rutter in the 1980's. Rutter felt it would be interesting to give a new generation of the Cambridge Singers an opportunity to see what they could do with what is now a familiar choral work.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak, London (07/16/2016/07/17/2016).


Visions shows a subtle maturation of style
If you like John Rutter, then you'll enjoy his latest release. Although the two works featured are separated by three decades, there's a stylistic consistency that's pure Rutter.

I found the newest work, "Visions," (2016), more satisfying than 1985's "Requiem," which is paired with it here. Rutter's music always seems to have a sunny, easy-going spirit to it regardless of the subject matter.

For me, "Visions" was both uplifting and inspirational. Rutter effectively sets his mystical texts in a cloud of impressionist harmonies. The obbligato solo violin flitting through the work reminded me strongly of Ralph Vaughan William's "A Lark Ascending" (even though RVW used a viola). The music had a more expansive quality to it than most Rutter extended works, and the harmonies were a little more adventuresome.

When compared to the 1985 "Requiem," one can hear maturation in Rutter's style. It's not a dramatic change, but rather a subtle refinement of skill.

Speaking of the "Requiem," this is the second time Rutter's recorded it. I'm not sure I heard a marked difference in the interpretation between this and the original 1980s version. The advances in digital recording and mastering, though, work to the benefit of the music, making gorgeous sounds even more so.

Rutter's "Requiem" is full of rich harmonies and well-crafted melodies that are unapologetically beautiful. Rutter's style is too upbeat to create a work that mourns the loss of a life. Instead, his "Requiem" is a celebration of the soul's transition from the church militant to the church triumphant (that is, from this world to the next).

If you're a Rutter fan, then you're probably already in. If not, this may be the place to start your exploration.

Submitted on 03/02/17 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Rutter, John : Visions, for violin, chorus & string orchestra
  • Performer: Kerson Leong (Violin)
  • Conductor: Zoe Beyers
  • Ensemble: The Cambridge Singers
  • Notes: All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak, London (07/16/2016/07/17/2016)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 2015

>Rutter, John : Requiem
  • Performers: Alice Halstead; Sebastien Van Kuijk (Cello)
  • Conductor: John Rutter
  • Ensemble: Aurora Orchestra
  • Notes: All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak, London (07/16/2016/07/17/2016)
  • Running Time: 37 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1985