A Song in Season, a collection of 12 choral anthems by John Rutter, will be a must-have for the composer's fans not only for the warm, enthusiastic performances by his own ensemble, the Cambridge Singers, but because nine of the selections are recorded here for the first time. The anthems, on a variety of themes, have texts from the Hebrew and Christian bibles, Medieval and Renaissance writers, and the composer himself. This collection is drawn from Rutter's most upbeat, cheerful works (which certainly constitute the vast majority of his output). In their mood of tender affirmation, their surging melodies, their refulgent harmonies, and their frequent modulations, these pieces have much in common with the traditional late 20th century Broadway ballad, and are just as prone to cliché, predictability, and an overload of sentimentality. There are several exceptions; Veni Sancti Spiritus is more subdued, in the tradition of early 20th century English anthems, and the a cappella The King of Blis has refreshingly perky tartness and rhythmic variety. The Cambridge Singers are a disciplined group, with a sweet, nicely blended sound and obvious affection for the material. The composer leads the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in heartfelt accompaniment. The sound is excellent: clean, warm, and spacious.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins