Carmen - Toreador's Song Georges Bizet
Arrangements of Rutter's best-loved choral classics, orchestrated for harp and chamber orchestra, alongside new compositions, John Rutter and Catrin Finch's autumnal album is a must-listen for fans of choral music and harp-lovers alike.
Choral fans will recognise Rutter's serene melody, given a beautiful reworking by Catrin Finch on the harp. It's still ultimately recognisable, but with an improvisatory twist - and a mellow flute tune for good measure.
Swelling strings and a harp improvisation transform Rutter's original choral piece into a soothing instrumental meditation.
Master of hummable tunes, Rutter strikes again with this lilting lullaby. Fluttering flute melodies float over gentle strings as Catrin's harp adds a touch of magic to proceedings. Beautiful.
It's not just John Rutter proving he knows how to write a good tune. Catrin's fingers dance over her fast-paced Celtic Concerto, a piece she composed especially for this collaborative album.
There's a gentle nod to British legends Vaughan Williams and Delius in the second movement of Catrin's pastoral concerto, with delicate harp melodies accompanied by a bed of lush strings.
Optimistic and uplifting, the final movement of Celtic Concerto is another nod to the autumnal feel of the album. It's a perfect fit with the lyrical choral arrangements from John Rutter.
The first of three traditional Welsh pieces, this is a nod to Catrin's homeland. There's something inherently 'folky' about music for the harp, and this delicate arrangement won't disappoint.
A special appearance from soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, whose pure tones suit this Celtic lament perfectly. It's a simple duet for harp and voice, explaining the tale of a lost love as the wind whistles in the trees.
A bassoon and harp duet, performed by Catrin Finch and Louise Watson, keeping the mood of the Welsh traditional song even without the lyrics.
John Rutter showcases his latest composition in this sprightly orchestral suite. The peaceful Prelude gives us a taste of what's to come - harp and orchestra work together in a call-and-response style, as they gracefully pass the tune between them.
Lovers of Rutter's choral gems such as Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day will enjoy the hop-skip-and-jump feel of this sprightly second movement, as the exciting harp melody springs from Catrin's fingers with ease.
There's something of a mournful Baroque feel to this stately middle movement, with its open harmonies and trills - but John Rutter's soupy string writing ensures the music still retains a modern feel.
It's not your traditional waltz, jammed with offbeat chords and maybe even a slight hint of 'These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things', but the warmth of Finch's playing and Rutter's superb string arrangements are quite enough to escort you to an autumnal wonderland. Blissful, yet nimble.
As the song-like title suggests, this is a far more lyrical effort than the other instalments in this Suite Lyrique. Finch's ability to bring the melody to the fore and makes it, yes, more vocal-sounding, is second-to-none, and she ekes out every available scrap of expression in the process. Photo: Facebook
A tripping 5/4 time signature gives this dance a thrilling edge and sense of precarious balance. There's also a sublime slower section in the middle of the movement that allows Finch to squeeze in some sweeping, grandiose harp chords too. Photo: Facebook
Rutter is something of an expert when it comes to this kind of thing. A delicate melody, taken on first by the oboe and accompanied by the harp of Catrin Finch, blossoms into something rather poignant and powerful by the time it's over - with full marks to Finch for providing the various iterations of the melody with such sensitive support.
John Rutter was once a member of the choir of Clare College Cambridge, and what better musical legacy to leave than this plaintive, twinkling melody. Deftly sung by a lone soprano, it's up to Finch to provide that sensitive accompaniment again, allowing Rutter's melody to take centre stage in a work that's clearly been closely informed by the composer's own life.