John Rutter (born September 24, 1945) is is an English composer and choral director who is well-known both for his original compositions and for his arrangements of familiar hymns and carols.
He composed this Requiem in 1985, the year after his father’s death. Rutter stated that it is not strictly a setting of the Requiem Mass in the Catholic liturgy, but is comprised of a personal selection of texts, some taken from the Requiem Mass and some from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
Rutter’s Requiem has a lot in common with the Requiem of Fauré, which was featured on this blog last month. Among their similarities, perhaps none is more noteworthy than the peaceful mood that permeates both works.
This recording features the Monteverdi Choir of Würzburg, Germany, conducted by Matthias Beckert at a memorial concert on March 16, 2008. The concert took place on the 63rd anniversary of the bombing of Würzburg in March 1945, in which nearly 90% of the city was destroyed in a British air raid – surely a fitting occasion for a requiem.