Here are dynamic modern performances of some of the most popular of all sacred vocal works written in the second half of the last century, expertly done by chamber choirs soaked in the tradition which the works themselves draw upon.
The Gloria is perhaps the best-known of the extended compositions by John Rutter, composer of such choral evergreens as A Gaelic Blessing and Shepherds’ Pipe Carol. Rutter’s setting fully captures the exuberance of the text, with sparkling orchestral colours and fullbodied choral parts.
Like the Gloria, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms (socalled because of the nature of their original commission, made in 1964 by the Dean of Chichester Cathedral, Walter Hussey) may be musically sophisticated in technical terms, but never at the expense of creating an instant impression or of serving the texts. The poignant treble solo in the second movement is still, along with ‘Maria’, one of Bernstein’s most imperishable melodies.
Poulenc, too, had melodies pouring out of him, though his settings of ancient liturgical texts (and rustic peasant prayers) in Litanies à la Vierge Noire, Quatre Petites Prières de Saint François d’Assise, Exsultate Deo and Salve Regina are in the more austere tradition of French sacred works.
- Recorded in 1995.
- Two of the finest chamber choirs in the English choral tradition, expertly directed and recorded.
- Includes booklet notes in English, and sung texts in the original language plus English translation.