Classical reviews

> John Rutter: Gloria, Magnificat, Te Deum. Choirs of St Albans Cathedral, etc. Naxos CD.

John Rutter writes choral music that shows off voices to advantage. His festive settings of the Gloria, Magnificat and Te Deum were written in 1974-1990 and are fresh and dramatic works. The Cathedral choirs are featured with Ensemble DeChorum musicians and Tom Winpenny (organ) conducted by Andrew Lucas. Soprano Elizabeth Cragg is the soloist in two sections of the Magnificat.

The works contain jazzy, sometimes rather menacing, rhythms but very accessible and attractive melodic and tonal music, like "Of A Rose, A Lovely Rose" from the Magnificat. Composed in 1990, this is the longest item (39 minutes) in seven effective movements. Modern religious music can still surprise and win the audience!

Booklet contains good notes by Rutter and lyrics.

Highlight: vivid, exhilarating performances.

> Classical Harp. Sarah Hill (harp). The Gift of Music CD.

The often quiet but seductive concert harp is heard in a programme of 17 great pieces, some transcribed, others originally composed for the instrument. The virtuoso soloist produces rich sounds that show the harp's full potential.

Well-known tunes like Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Chaconnes by Handel and by Jeremiah Clarke, three Gnossienes by Satie, and Boccherini's Minuet in A impress. Three works by Alphonse Hasselmans that were published as a set prove he was one of the greatest composers for the harp.

John Thomas, harpist to Queen Victoria, is well represented with Bugeilior Gwenith Gwyn (Watching the Wheat), one of the many beautiful Welsh folk songs he arranged for harp. And Pachelbel's irrepressible Canon is fired off, yes with pluck!

Highlight: beautiful harp sounds.


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