Released in the fall of 2016, this album is part of a series from the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, devoted to seasons in the liturgical year. The month of November in Christian calendars is devoted to remembrance of the dead, so here you get memorial pieces, from Duruflé's Requiem, Op. 9, to shorter pieces using the them in various ways. All these albums are worthwhile, with fine engineering treatment from Harmonia Mundi of the choir on its home ground and director Graham Ross impelling both choir and soloists toward committed, clear text exposition that may make the bulky booklet less necessary for CD buyers. The result in the Duruflé is a performance that stands somewhat apart from the usual serenity of British collegiate choirs, and differs from other major recordings of the work in using a mixed-gender adult choir rather than an all-male group. A certain humanistic quality is added. But the main attraction for many will be the set of shorter pieces that lead up to the Requiem (placed last). These dispense with the obligatory modernist compositions in favor of a variety of tonal shades and textual approaches. Sample the lovely version of John Tavener's Song for Athene, where the above comments about the choir's approach are especially relevant. This release is of interest both to general audiences and to those thinking deeply about new approaches in choral music -- and, best of all, it may well bring comfort to those afflicted by loss.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Requiem, Op. 9|