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Images of Christ

The Cambridge Singers
John Rutter (conductor)


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Around the figure of Christ there has grown up over the centuries a body of choral literature that can only be described as among the most remarkable in western civilization. The music of this recording, all for a cappella choir, is grouped loosely according to the themes of its texts (The Coming of Christ, Words of Christ, The Passion of Christ, Resurrection and Ascension, Christ in the Eucharist), drawing together composers as far apart in time and space as 11th-century France and 20th-century Russia and America. The aim is not a liturgical reconstruction, nor an historical survey, but rather a journey of the imagination.


Track list

  1. Let all mortal flesh keep silence (Bairstow)
  2. Veni, redemptor gentium (Sarum chant)
  3. Hodie Christus natus est (Palestrina)
  4. Omnes de Saba venient (Jacob Handl)
  5. Ich bin ein rechter Weinstock (Schütz)
  6. The crown of roses (Tchaikovsky)
  7. Vo tsarstvii Tvoyem (Rachmaninov)
  8. Pater noster (Stravinsky)
  9. Christus factus est (Bruckner)
  10. Good Friday Reproaches (Palestrina)
  11. Eram quasi agnus (Victoria)
  12. O vos omnes (Casals)
  13. Crucifixus a 8 (Lotti)
  14. Surgens Jesus (Peter Philips)
  15. Ascendo ad Patrem (Palestrina)
  16. Viri Galilæi (Byrd)
  17. Jesu, dulcis memoria (Victoria)
  18. Ave verum corpus (Richard Dering)
  19. Pange lingua (Gregorian chant)
  20. Agnus Dei (Barber)
  21. O sacrum convivium (Messiaen)

“A very fine collection” Cross Rhythms

“The singing is warm and sensitive and the performances are fresh and engaging… Highly recommended” John Ferguson

“I always approach discs by John Rutter’s Cambridge Singers with a sense of heightened anticipation, and yet again they have come up with the goods: they never seem to disappoint either in terms of selection of material, performance or in the quality of the recording. Their constant and consistent delivery of quality material puts them streets ahead of many other choirs or choral groups. The music of this recording, all for unaccompanied choir, is loosely grouped according to the themes in the texts of the pieces, e.g, Advent, Easter, Communion, the words of Jesus, etc. All that appears to have been left out is the Second Coming and Judgment! Composers from many periods and countries have been brought together in this collection which is neither a liturgical construction for worship nor a historical survey of how Christ has been portrayed in Church music down the centuries (although the collection manages to do both of these) but more an aid to the imagination as it meditates on these images of Christ. Among the highlights of this collection are Bruckner’s Christus Factus Est, Palestrina’s Hodie Christus Natus and two exemplary 20th century pieces: Messiaen’s O Sacrum Convivium and Barber’s moving choral setting of his famous Adagio for strings, Agnus Dei in a performance I would have no hesitation in recommending above many others. There is also a wealth of other short pieces, musically diverse and often not so well known, but all deserving of greater attention. A very fine collection.” Cross Rhythms

“It’s always nice when you can depend on something for its consistent quality and integrity, especially when it comes to the business of musical performances, programming, and recording.  The Cambridge Singers always have done these things well, and, if you’ve followed their many recordings over the years, you know that, from the packaging to the sound quality, these people care about the details.  For this release, John Rutter has chosen to focus on a cappella works from various centuries whose central theme is the figure, the person, the presence of Christ. Reaching back to early Sarum and Gregorian chant, the inventive program also includes works by Stravinsky (the brief, plainly dressed Pater noster). Pablo Casals (the widely performed but rarely recorded O vos omnes) and Rachmaninov (The Beatitudes from Liturgy of St John Chrysostom’. Highlights include the hymn-like Tchaikovsky song with its slightly bizarre, symbolic English text, the gorgeous Ave verum corpus by Dering, a worthy rival to Byrd’s own setting, a refreshingly understated Lotti Crucifixus and a wonderfully prayerful, otherworldly O sacrum convivium by Messiaen. The singers also tackle Barber’s Angus Dei, the composer’s choral arrangement of his famous ‘Adagio for Strings’.  This is a tough piece that Rutter pulls off by keeping the tempo moving and never letting the outer voices lose vital energy.  …another red-letter entry in the Collegium/Cambridge Singers canon.” CD Review

“This CD contains all the favourites heard throughout the Christian year spanning the centuries from Palestrina to Stravinsky and Dering to Messiaen. Anyone thinking that this is not a serious choir would do well to buy this collection of unaccompanied music as well as music not so readily heard in our cathedrals.  John Rutter has his performers singing with character and emotion…” Choir and Organ

“The singing is warm and sensitive, and the performances are fresh and engaging. With repertoire as old as Gregorian chant and as contemporary as works by Samuel Barber and Olivier Messiaen, Rutter has assembled a remarkable anthology of choral song built around the themes of the coming of Christ, his words, passion, resurrection, and ascension. Highly recommended!” Christianity and the Arts

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