A richly rendered Rutter

This album, compiled from the composer’s own recordings, with the addition of a specially written title track, highlights the optimism that runs through Rutter’s work

Composer: John Rutter
Repertoire: The Choral Collection; The Gift of Music 
Artist: City of London Sinfonia; The Cambridge Singers/John Rutter 
Rating: 5/5 
Genre: Vocal/Orchestral
Label: UCJ 476 3068

Odds are that most tributes paid to John Rutter in his 60th birthday year will stress the decency of the man as well as the generous nature of his music. This album highlights the optimism that runs through Rutter’s work, from such overtly artless, hugely popular pieces as The Lord Bless You and Keep You to his sublime unaccompanied anthem Hymn to the Creator of Light. The latter is brilliantly performed by the Cambridge Singers under the composer’s carefully paced guidance.

The words and music of the opening track, Look at World, confirm that Rutter is not a follower of the church militant. The hymn’s naive sentiment, while not for the cynic, offers an instantly memorable modern alternative to the revivalist tunes of Sankey and Moody; likewise, For the Beauty of the Earth has the qualities required of a timeless worship classic. Thanks to Rutter’s innate gift for programme building, the running order established for this disc adds up to a satisfying, multicoloured listen, helped by consistently fine performances and recorded sound from the engineer’s top drawer. As such, The Gift of Music ideally serves Rutter converts and fans alike. Strongly recommended.