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Visions and Requiem

and Rutter Requiem

The Cambridge Singers | Choristers of the Temple Church | Aurora Orchestra | Kerson Leong (violin)
John Rutter (conductor)

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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 vibrant Aurora Orchestra.

Rutter's Requiem has enjoyed immense popularity since its premiere recording in 1986. Over 30 years on, John Rutter takes advantage of advances in recording technology to revisit the work with a new generation of Cambridge Singers.

Track list

  1. Visions: Processional and prelude: Jerusalem the blessed
  2. Visions: Arise, Shine
  3. Visions: Lament for Jerusalem
  4. Visions: Finale: The holy city
  5. Requiem: Requiem aeternam
  6. Requiem: Out of the deep
  7. Requiem: Pie Jesu
  8. Requiem: Sanctus
  9. Requiem: Agnus Dei
  10. Requiem: The Lord is my shepherd
  11. Requiem: Lux aeterna

“The Cambridge Singers and Aurora Orchestra deliver a luminescent performance of a modern classic” Financial Times

“This is Rutter at his most emotionally mature, painting on a large-scale musical canvas.” Gramophone

“It is outstandingly played in this premiere recording by the young Canadian violinist Kerson Leong.”
Performance ****
Recording *****
BBC Music Magazine

“A violin concerto with a choir in it? John Rutter’s Visions probably isn’t quite a concerto – he doesn’t call it that – but the solo part is certainly extensive, often recalling Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending in shape and atmosphere.  It is outstandingly played by the young Canadian violinist Kerson Leong. His largely rhapsodic contributions are intertwined and juxtaposed with those of the Temple Church Boys’ Choir, who sing biblical texts related to Jerusalem, mainly in unison and with gleaming tonal quality.  The tone of Visions is often lingeringly elegiac, and may well surprise those who associate Rutter primarily with facile tunefulness and chirpy carols. The coupling is a new recording of the Requiem Rutter first took into the studio 30 years ago. Although his timings for individual movements haven’t altered a jot across the decades, the new version is preferable – the recording has greater clarity and amplitude, and both the singing and playing have a touch more incisiveness and assurance.The sensually expressive choral singing in the Lux aeterna caps an authoritative interpretation.” BBC Music Magazine

“Out of a viewing of the manuscript of Fauré’s Requiem came the inspiration for another. It is no surprise that John Rutter’s Requiem should have similarities. What might not have been predicted is how this serene and consoling music, memorable in its understated tunefulness, would go on to win such a following of its own. Rutter conducts the Cambridge Singers and Aurora Orchestra in a luminescent performance of a popular modern classic. Alongside is his recent Visions for solo violin, boys’ choir and string ensemble, hymning biblical texts with an English pastoral radiance.” Financial Times

“John Rutter’s Requiem Mass of 1985 was not the first composition to show his mature style, but it served notice of his place in the rising neo-Romantic movement of the time with its unashamedly melodic idiom, drawn on that of Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem (and performed with that work in its American premiere) and boiling it down to simple structures. Whether you like Rutter or not, you will concede that here he has not let the Devil have all the good tunes. The work has been one of Rutter’s most successful and has been recorded several times, but this release by Rutter’s own Cambridge Singers and Aurora Orchestra marks the first under his baton since his 1985 recording. One of his stated reasons for recording the work again was to take advantage of the evolution of digital technology since those infant days, and here the recording succeeds solidly, with absolute textual clarity in the acoustically ideal All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak, in London. That also serves Rutter well in a second goal: that of introducing a new work as a balance to the early one. Visions (2016) was written for its violin soloist, Kerson Leong; it is for violin, chorus, and orchestra, and is based on biblical texts that each describe a different vision. This plays to Rutter’s strengths in finding texts that connect with listeners emotionally and setting them accessibly, and the work shows that the septuagenarian Rutter has lost none of his touch. The forces—a different choir and conductor, but the same orchestra—introduce an attractive, subtle contrast with the Requiem Mass, which itself is frequently gorgeous (sample the Agnus Dei for a taste of Rutter at his tuneful best).” AllMusic

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