This 1997 recording by Polyphony and the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, directed by Stephen Layton, was one of the first dedicated to the works of John Rutter performed by an ensemble other than Rutter's own Cambridge Singers. It's a very fine alternative to that group's recording of the Requiem. Polyphony and the Sinfonietta have a polished sound that enhances the richness of Rutter's writing. There isn't too much drama in Rutter's settings of text from the Requiem mass and the Book of Common Prayer, but Layton makes the most of it maturely, not distorting the shape of the music, but making it communicate immediately and directly with listeners. The joyful intent of movements like the Sanctus and the hymn Cantate Domino is unmistakable. It also highlights the way Rutter is able to paint a picture through music, as with the Hymn to the Creator of Light, which depicts a rising sun or other emergent, bright light. The latter part of the program is a mixture of hymns and other pieces that isn't all just smooth, lush reverence, and it's not all sacred music, either. Two selections are from Rutter's Birthday Madrigals, a set of pieces written in honor of jazz pianist George Shearing. This is a highly recommended choice for any fan of John Rutter.
John Rutter: Requiem Review
by Patsy Morita