John Rutter: Requiem

John Rutter

John Rutter

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.

Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 6:47 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Gabriel Fauré: Requiem

Gabriel Fauré

Gabriel Fauré

Gabriel Fauré (1845 – 1924) was a French composer, organist, pianist, and teacher.  A prolific composer, Fauré was at home in many different idioms, including choral music, opera, orchestral and chamber music, and works for solo piano.

Composed between 1887 and 1890, the Requiem is the best-known of Fauré’s works.  Concerning it, Fauré wrote, “It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death, and someone has called it a lullaby of death.  But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience.”  Fittingly, the Requiem was performed at Fauré’s own funeral in 1924.

In March 2009, I had the privilege of singing in a memorable performance of the Requiem – in a chorus composed of two church choirs and four high-school choirs – under the direction of Anthony Giles, with soloists Marana Avant and Barry Johnson.

This performance features the National Chamber Choir of Armenia and the Youth State Orchestra of Armenia, with soloists Mane Galoyan (soprano) and Gurgen Baveyan (baritone), under the direction of Robert Mlkeyan.

(Note: The first image below links to a performance of the entire Requiem.  The seven images that follow link to individual movements.)