“Hard to believe, but this is the first CD devoted solely to Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's extensive choral output. That it's a richly rewarding body of work is nowhere better exemplified than in the curtain-raiser, Sea Change (1984) a marvellously effective, 17-minute cycle to texts by Shakespeare, Andrew Marvell and Edmund Spenser. The Spenser setting thrillingly evokes the terrible monsters encountered by Sir Guyon during a stormy sea voyage by employing a technique akin to Sprechgesang, while the concluding 'Full fathom five' is a worthy successor to Vaughan Williams's setting in his Three ShakespeareSongs. Whereas Sea Change minimally and subtly deploys tubular bells, A Farewell to Arms (2001) memorably incorporates an extensive role for solo cello and sets the same poems by Ralph Knevet and George Peele that Finzi first brought together for his 1945 diptych. It's a tenderly moving creation, as is the part-song 'A Good-Night' (1999) from the sequence A Garlandfor Linda. If Britten's shadow looms large over the Missa brevis (1990) for Canterbury Cathedral Choir, it's a no less appealing creation for all that. Bouquets all round to John Rutter and his Cambridge Singers; theirs is a cappella singing of a very high order. Exemplary presentation and admirable sound, tastefully balanced within the comparatively intimate acoustic of the LSO's home, St Luke's in the City of London. A delightful anthology.”
Awards Issue 2005
“Beautifully sung and even more beautifully recorded…”
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