Britain and Germany are probably Europe's two largest markets for classical music, but the crossover segment is sorely underrepresented in the latter. This release by the technically superb Rundfunkchor Berlin, importing a British conductor (albeit one with lots of experience on the Continent), perhaps aims to redress the balance. The opening track is one most listeners, English or German or of any other nationality, will know as Morning Has Broken, although it was prior to that a 1930s English hymn set to an old Highland Scots tune. Here it is given German lyrics and arranged by John Rutter, and the result proves that you can't keep a good tune down. From there the program moves into a succession of chorales, Renaissance songs, later German a cappella sacred music, organ pieces, and a few glee club chestnuts like Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus, K. 618. The music is a cappella or lightly introduced by a harp, and the mood holds throughout. Fans of Rutter might even give this a try, for it has a more serious tone than would the equivalent British item, even though it is basically an exercise in sensuous surfaces. Deutsche Grammophon's engineers, working in Berlin's Auenkirche, turn in work comparable to that of the label's golden age and match the pearly tones of the choir step for step. A fine example of the crossover type.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Prelude & Fugue in C major, BWV 846|