The main attraction in this release that's straight up the middle of Hyperion's catalog, with choral music sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, is the Requiem mass of Maurice Duruflé. The booklet notes don't shy away from the controversy surrounded by this mass, which was commissioned by France's collaborationist Vichy government. But it appears that Duruflé's creative stimulus was primarily personal, and the mass has continued to be performed by choirs great and small. Some French versions are sweeter than this one, but the soberness of the Westminster singers catches the essence of the music: a language derived from Fauré, but reined in by a truly ingenious use of plainchant, which is distributed through the texture in a manner worthy of the greats of the Renaissance. Rounding out the program is English music: Vaughan Williams, Herbert Howells, John Tavener, and Philip Moore, who makes music out of texts by the German minister and anti-Nazi activist Dietrich Bonhoeffer that wasn't intended for such treatment. A strong entry in the crowded field of recordings of the Duruflé Requiem, with excellent Hyperion sound.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Requiem, Op. 9|