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Secular music by John Rutter

The Cambridge Singers | City of London Sinfonia
John Rutter (conductor)

CD: £9.00
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This album explores the secular works of John Rutter. Fancies is a cycle of six settings of Elizabethan poetry, described by the composer as ‘music for a summer’s evening.’ When Icicles Hang, another choral cycle with orchestra, is a winter piece, best known for its bitter-sweet setting of Shakespeare’s Blow, blow, thou winter wind. The Five Childhood Lyrics, for unaccompanied choir, take a group of simple rhymes and set them in a spirit of fun and fairytale. The Suite Antique for flute, harpsichord and strings, consists of six short movements ranging from a simple, classic ‘aria’ to an upbeat ‘jazz waltz’.

An audio learning guide for Blow, blow thou winter wind is available from ChoirGuides

Track list

  1. Fancies: Tell me where is fancy bred
  2. Fancies: There is a garden in her face
  3. Fancies: The urchin's song
  4. Fancies: Riddle song
  5. Fancies: Midnight's bell
  6. Fancies: The bellman's song
  7. Suite Antique: Prelude
  8. Suite Antique: Ostinato
  9. Suite Antique: Aria
  10. Suite Antique: Waltz
  11. Suite Antique: Chanson
  12. Suite Antique: Rondeau
  13. Five Childhood Lyrics: Monday's Child
  14. Five Childhood Lyrics: The Owl and the Pussy-cat
  15. Five Childhood Lyrics: Windy nights
  16. Five Childhood Lyrics: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
  17. Five Childhood Lyrics: Sing a song of sixpence
  18. When Icicles Hang: Icicles
  19. When Icicles Hang: Winter nights
  20. When Icicles Hang: Good ale
  21. When Icicles Hang: Blow, blow thou winter wind
  22. When Icicles Hang: Winter awakeneth all my care
  23. When Icicles Hang: Hay, ay

“… A must have for lovers of good choral music…” The Northern Echo

“… one of the most attractive choral records in recent months…” Gramophone

“…Rutter means good music, splendidly played and sung and excellent recordings …” Evening Star

“Fancies dates from over twenty years ago and was commission by the chorus and orchestra which predated the present London Sinfonia.  This cycle collects Elizabethan poetry and, much like the madrigal, conveys the fleeting brightness of expression inherent in the verses. But, unlike the madrigalists, Rutter revels in the sonic charms of his forces – here the pure bell-tones of his own Cambridge Singers against the crystalline clarity of the chamber orchestra…” Fanfare

“Here are four entirely delightful compositions …. Each has its own character. The Childhood Lyrics are unaccompanied, When Icicles Hang uses full orchestra, and Fancies a chamber group.  The Suite antique originated in a commission for a programme which also included the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, so Rutter, good practical musician as he is, chose to write something for the same combination of instruments and at the same time to pay homage to the forms and styles of Bach’s day.”

“Under his direction the Cambridge Singers and City of London Sinfonia perform with a sure feeling for what is wanted, and they do so with fresh, youthful tone in the singers and fresh rhythmic alertness in the players.  Recorded sound is excellent, the presentation is attractive, so nothing is wanted.” Gramophone


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