“Following the success of our 2010 release of John Rutter’s Gloria, Magnificat and Te Deum (8.572653), I felt it would be good to visit his music again, and so we took the opportunity to make the first complete recording of Psalmfest. Most of the nine movements of this substantial work had been published and subsequently recorded individually, but not all had enjoyed the benefit of Rutter's full orchestration as on this new, world première complete edition."
– Andrew Lucas, conductor
“Randall Thompson’s name is virtually synonymous with American choral music. His works enjoy a place in the core repertory of choruses of all shapes and sizes. And yet, one of his greatest choral works remains virtually unknown to choruses and their audiences, both in America and beyond – his Requiem. It is our fervent hope that this neglected masterpiece will finally earn a place in the repertory of choruses everywhere.”
The psalms of David have been a source of inspiration to composers for centuries, each text forming a poetic shape the equivalent of a gothic arch, and expressing a broad range of timeless emotions. Recorded here for the first time in its complete form, John Rutter’s Psalmfest is a collection of nine settings for full orchestra as rich and varied as the original texts. The remaining psalm settings were written for special occasions, including the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.
Listen to an extract from Psalmfest:
IV. The Lord is my shepherd
Randall Thompson’s choral works retain the affection of American choral singers and conductors alike. The Requiem is his masterpiece, written in response to the loss of close friends and colleagues. Using a wide-ranging selection of Biblical verses, it takes the form of a dramatic dialogue between two choirs, a ‘chorus of mourners’ and a ‘chorus of the faithful’, concerning eternal life. Recorded here for the first time in its complete form, this Requiem is an emotional and dramatically intense journey of conflict and resolution, and entirely unique within American music history and the requiem tradition as a whole.
Listen to an extract from Requiem:
Part IV: The Garment of Praise: I am their music
About the Artists
Andrew Lucas has been Master of the Music at St Albans Cathedral and Music Director of St Albans Bach Choir since 1998. He has made many recordings as an organist and conductor, and has given concerts throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. This is his fourth recording for Naxos - he featured as organ recital soloist on the first disc (8.550955) and as the conductor on subsequent recordings of choral music by Rutter (8.572653) and Mozart (8.573092).
Soprano Elizabeth Cragg studied at the Royal College of Music and has sung with many of Europe’s leading conductors‚ including Sir Simon Rattle‚ Sir Mark Elder and Vladimir Jurowski. In addition to her many concert appearances, her operatic engagements have included Flowermaiden 1 in Parsifal (Royal Opera House and at the BBC Proms) and First Niece in Peter Grimes (Berlin Philharmonic and Salzburg).
Tenor Pascal Charbonneau studied at McGill University in Montreal, Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has appeared at numerous international music festivals and opera houses around the world.
St Albans Cathedral Choir was re-founded in 1877 when the Abbey church became a Cathedral. Under Andrew Lucas’ direction they have completed nine international concert tours, featured in broadcasts for radio and television, and made several commercial recordings.
The St Albans Abbey Girls Choir was formed in 1996. The choir has broadcast Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3, and has made several recordings for Naxos including music by Felix Mendelssohn (8.572836). The choir has made concert tours to Ireland, Denmark and the United States.
Formed in 1946, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has flourished now for seventy years, upholding the legacy of its founder Sir Thomas Beecham. It brings first-class performances of a wide range of musical repertoire to worldwide audiences. Its busy overseas schedule includes several international tours each year, with recent engagements including concerts in Mexico, Germany, Spain, Poland and China.
David Hayes was Music Director of The Philadelphia Singers from 1992 to 2015. He is currently Music Director of the New York Choral Society and the Mannes Orchestra, Professor of Professional Practice at Mannes College and The New School of Music in New York, and a staff conductor at the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. He holds degrees from the University of Hartford (BM in Musicology) and the Curtis Institute of Music (Diploma in Orchestral Conducting).
The Philadelphia Singers was founded in 1972 as a fully professional 32-voice chamber ensemble performing music from the Renaissance to contemporary works. During the 1980s, the group rose to prominence with the Philadelphia premières of works by Poulenc and Gershwin and world premières of compositions by contemporary composers. The Philadelphia Singers performed its “Farewell Concert” in May 2015.
More recordings of John Rutter's music
“A lovely and worthwhile recording it is, in every respect. [The choir] parform here with their usual depth, sensitivity, technical finesse, and bright, clear sound.”
– American Record Guide
“Andrew Lucas’s St Albans choristers are on sparkling form, with first-class support from organist Tom Winpenny and the Ensemble DeChorum who scrupulously adhere to every one of the score’s markings.”
“Everything is brilliantly performed and caught in plush, colorful sound.”
– American Record Guide
Also available in the American Classics series
“The performances by the Pacific Symphony (and Chorale) are really stellar. Its critically acclaimed performances of American music… continue to be important additions to the recorded catalogue.”
– Cinemusical ★★★★
“Marin Alsop, once a Bernstein protégé, conducts a coherent program of some of his choral works, delivering an incisive and brilliant account of the Third Symphony in its original version. With her sensitive and expressive voice, Claire Bloom achieves to give the long spoken text a new quality.”
– Pizzicato ★★★★
“Here the choir takes on the delicate, tricky-to-balance textures and wide-ranging dramatic declamations, perfectly capturing the varied moods and moments of these emotion-laden texts.”