Catrin Finch / John Rutter

Blessing

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    7
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This collaboration between composer John Rutter and Welsh harpist Catrin Finch falls decidedly toward the crossover end of Rutter's output. Like most of Rutter's productions, it's elegantly executed, and it shows that he probably would have been a grand success even if he had chosen not to devote himself to choral genres; the arrangements for harp and the Sinfonia Cymru are lovely. You get several of Rutter's popular compositions arranged for harp and ensemble, some songs with or without the voice, a more substantially rewritten Suite Lyrique for harp and orchestra (the original was the Suite Antique for flute, harpsichord, and strings), and perhaps best of all a Celtic Concerto of Finch's own composition. If you are to believe her, "it was the first time I had put pen to paper, as it were, and written some music down properly." As such, it's remarkably accomplished, with a knack for making virtuoso passagework musically eventful, and a fine lyrical slow movement. The piece was apparently included on the album at Rutter's insistence, and for this he deserves credit. The balance of the album presents Rutter in a simple, unfamiliar yet pleasing mode, and it's likely that even his detractors will get a few smiles out of this artless, tuneful music.

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