In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
John Rutter was born in London in 1945 and received his first musical education as a chorister at Highgate School. He went on to study music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he wrote his first published compositions and conducted his first recording while still a student.
His compositional career has embraced both large and small-scale choral works, orchestral and instrumental pieces, a piano concerto, two children's operas, music for television, and specialist writing for such groups as the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and the King's Singers. His most recent larger choral works, Requiem (1985), Magnificat (1990) and Psalmfest (1993) have been performed many times in Britain, North America, and a growing number of other countries. He co-edited four volumes in the Carols for Choirs series with Sir David Willcocks, and, more recently, has edited the first two volumes in the new Oxford Choral Classics series, Opera Choruses (1995) and European Sacred Music (1996).
From 1975 to 1979 he was Director of Music at Clare College, whose choir he directed in a number of broadcasts and recordings. After giving up the Clare post to allow more time for composition, he formed the Cambridge Singers as a professional chamber choir primarily dedicated to recording, and he now divides his time between composition and conducting. He has guest-conducted or lectured at many concert halls, universities, churches, music festivals, and conferences in Europe, Scandinavia, North America and Australasia. In 1980 he was made an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and in 1988 a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians. In 1996 the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred a Lambeth Doctorate of Music upon him in recognition of his contribution to church music.
In 1984 Rutter formed his own record label, Collegium, in the hopes of bringing choral music to a wider audience through performances of the highest possible quality. "I just wanted a vehicle for the Cambridge Singers," he says, "and a way of recording the music I wanted, when I wanted, with whom I wanted, in the buildings I wanted, with the engineers and the producers that I wanted." Collegium has achieved great success and wide acclaim over the years. "There was a much larger audience worldwide for the sort of music we were recording than we had ever known. It's really, really heartening, because it shows that choral music is much closer to the center of people's affections than is often suspected." In addition to showcasing Rutter's own work, including his beautiful Requiem (1998), Collegium CDs feature a wealth of traditional and sacred music.
A healthy amount of the repertoire released on the Collegium label has to do with Christmas. When asked about his feelings on the holiday, Rutter replies, "For me, first and foremost, Christmas is happy memories of the way it was celebrated when I was a kid. As everyone would probably say, it revolves around the family and gatherings. But it also revolves around my school chapel. I was at a school in north London that happened to have a chapel with a fine choir. And our Christmas carol service was the high point of our singing year. So I actually developed a love of the whole music of Christmas, along with the message of Christmas, from when I was a kid. With music, your Christmas can always be perfect. With real-Iife Christmas, there's always something that's going to go a bit wrong. You're hoping it's going to snow on Christmas day, but it doesn't. Or your turkey smells absolutely gorgeous, but it turns out that it's a bit burned when you come to eat it. But the music of Christmas is always perfect, and so I love to remember and celebrate Christmas in music and song."
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Review: The Renowned, 31-strong Cambridge Singers have a present for us: 23 songs of Christmas, many of them written, composed and/or arranged by contemporary composer John Rutter, a giant in the Choral world. "Jesus Child," "There Is A Flower," "Donkey Carol," "Wildwood Carol," "Angels' Carol," "Mary's Lullaby" - Rutter's original music is lovely, and the CS are the group to do it justice. Also fine are all the traditional carols like "I Saw Three Ships" and "Joy to the World." The songs are divided into six sections: Prologue, The Christmas Story, Christmas Night, Christmas Reflections, Christmas Joy and Epilog. Most of the songs are accompanied by the London Sinfonia. The liner notes are extensive and beautiful. A monumental achievement for the Cambridge Singers, a generous, spirited and brilliant Christmas CD!
Review: The music on "Collection" embraces both Rutter's sacred and a little of his secular work, most of it commissioned by choirs for specific occasions. "Shepherd's Pipe Carol" (1966) is the earliest piece; "Angels' carol" (1988) and "What Sweeter Music," (written in 1988 for the King's College Choir), are lovely carols. "For the Beauty of the Earth" (1980), "All things bright and beautiful" (1983), "Open Thou Mine Eyes" (1980), A choral fanfare," (1989), "A Prayer of St. Patrick," (1983), "O be joyful in the Lord," (1984), and "A Gaelic Blessing" were all commissioned by American Choirs. Two longer and more ambitious festival anthems, "Behold, the tabernacle of God" and the lovely "O praise the Lord of heaven," are favorites. Secular songs "My true love hath my heart" and "Sing a song of sixpence" exist harmoniously with excepts from Rutter's larger works, "Out of the deep," "Pie Jesu" and "The Lord is my shepherd." Rutter's work never fails to touch us, no matter if sung by any number of childrens' choirs, or by a powerful, veteran ensemble like the Cambridge Singers, whose a cappella cuts, "Open Thou Mine Eyes," "My true love hath my heart," "A choral fanfare," "A prayer for St. Patrick," "Mathew, Mark, Luke and John" and "Sing a Song of Sixpence" are standouts. Accompaniment, understated to heavy and dramatic, is provided by the City of London Sinfonia. A remarkable collection of 22 songs by one of the great composers, conducted by the master himself!
Review: Bringing together the voices of adults and children, Rutter's Mass of the Children is scored for mixed choir, soprano and baritone soloists, orchestra, and the irresistible charm of a children's choir. Rutter's skilful writing for these forces together with his sensitive interweaving of both the Latin Mass texts and Thomas Ken's renowned morning and evening hymns for Winchester College, gives the whole work the framework of a complete day, from waking to sleeping. This has resulted in one of his finest and most moving works to date.
Review: Rutter's Requiem, from 1985, is wildly popular among modern choirs, audiences, and record shoppers. It is offered here in the world premiere recording of its chamber version, making what is considered a concert piece more suitable for liturgical purposes or intimate venues. This, along with many of his other works, has a direct, uncluttered, almost folksy air to it, while hardly ever lapsing into banality. Just when you begin to think, "Ah, I've heard this kind of stuff before", up Rutter comes with some ingenious device or harmonic twist that grabs even the most jaded ear. And he knows how to hold such a comparatively larger-scale composition together, too. This is one of Rutter's finest and most convincing works. It consoles, implores, worships, affirms, reassures, and mystifies-everything that a good requiem is supposed to do. Instrumental accompaniment (single flute, oboe, cello, harp, and timpani, plus percussion) is spare, but expert and tasteful. Rutter has a long and fruitful history with the Clare College Choir, having led them himself in quite a few outstanding recordings. They perform here with their usual depth, sensitivity, technical finesse, and bright, clear sound.
Review: Perhaps Britian's very best choir performs the works of perhaps Britian's very best living choral composer. Certainly a wonderful match this pairing makes for a great recording and worthy of every fan's collection. This CD contains a stellar cross-section of Rutter's work. He combines the melodic simplicity of Bach with a distinctly modern sensibility. The combined effect of the music's sheer beauty, the exquisite skill of the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, and the magisterial hush of the King's College Chapel make for an ethereal and thoroughly transformative musical experience.
Review: A collection of John Rutter's anthems, featuring eleven of his best compositions. These selections have been carefully chosen to reflect the breadth and beauty of Rutter's sacred choral music making this collection an invaluable addition to any music library.
Review: Birthday Madrigals was written at the invitation of Brian Kay, conductor of the Cheltenham Bach Choir, to celebrate the seventy-fifth birthday of the great jazz pianist George Shearing. The first performance was given, in his presence, in Cheltenham Town Hall on June 3, 1995 by the Cheltenham Bach Choir with Neil Swainson (double bass), John Rutter conducting. The seed of the composition was 'It was a lover and his lass,' witten in 1975. The other four movements, their texts also drawn from the madrigal era (hence the work's title), were added in 1995 to make the present choral suite.
Review: Full of joy and tenderness, John Rutter's carols illuminate and celebrate the Christmas story in works of great imagination and variety. This selection of his most popular carols forms an essential collection for all choirs. Includes 10 SATB carols, accompanied and unaccompanied.
Review: Featured on the Cambridge Singers' album of the same name, 'Fancies' is an exquisite cycle of choral settings for mixed voices and small orchestra.
Review: This choral collection includes settings of children's poems and nursery rhymes for SATB unaccompanied - with some divisi.
Review: In this choral collection we have five settings of traditional songs, arranged by John Rutter for SATBB unaccompanied voices.
Review: Composed by John Rutter, this vocal score for mixed voices and piano is a brilliant choral piece that your singers and audience members will love. The score comes with choral notation and piano reduction, the text language is Latin, with a total of 44 pages.
Review: This excellent choral collection by John Rutter is written for mixed voices and keybord. The nine movements form a single choral work comprising seven pieces previously published separately and two new movements. A broad range of emotions all find their place with rich and varied musical settings. It features solos for soprano and tenor soloists - an excellent addition to your sacred choral program!
Review: Featured on the Cambridge Singers' album of the same name, 'The Sprig of Thyme' is a beautiful cycle of folk-song settings, each setting giving plenty of opportunity for different voices in your choir the opportunity to shine!
Review: In this collection we have a cycle of choral settings with words by Campion, Shakespeare, and anon. for SATB (with tenor solo) and small orchestra.
Review: Conductor and composer John Rutter has worked in many facets of music, but is best known for his work in the choral realm. On this recording his work is interpreted by the Nordic Chamber Choir led by Nicol Matt. This dynamic CD shows the stylistic and subject variety found in Rutter's music. The first set of five sacred pieces includes the amazingly beautiful wedding song, "I my Best-Beloved's am," which combines sacred Latin texts with an English love poem, the jubilant "Cantate Domino" and virtuosic "Deck the hall." The set of Birthday Madrigals, written for jazz pianist George Shearing combine madrigal era texts in very jazzy settings, three of them include double-bass. The recording is rounded out with five settings of traditional songs and five childhood lyrics.
Review: Gloria (a concert work, despite the use of a religious text) was commissioned by the Voices of Mel Olson in Omaha, Nebraska, who invited Rutter to direct the first performance in 1974. The words come from the second section (the Hymn of Praise) of the Ordinary of the Mass, which in the liturgy follows the 'Kyrie'. The familiar opening words are those of the angels proclaiming the birth of Jesus, as found in the second chapter of Luke's Gospel. Rutter's setting is based largely on one of the Gregorian chants with which the text is associated. He describes the three movements as 'roughly corresponding to traditional symphonic structure', the mood of the sections being respectively 'exalted, devotional and jubilant by turns'. The use of organ, brass and percussion makes for plenty of Waltonian punch in the outer movements and yet also for a hauntingly ethereal middle section. 'Delicious performances of Rutter's wonderfully approachable and finely crafted vocal writing. The sound, too, is outstanding' (Gramophone)
Review: The performances are uniformly excellent; Stephen Layton and his Polyphony vocal ensemble have shown a previous affinity for Rutter's work and this effort simply reaffirms their commitment to and love for this very special music. With the first notes of the joyous "Shepherd's Pipe Carol," we know that Christmas is coming and John Rutter is the man when it comes to Christmas music! And on "Music," we have 22 of Rutter's finest carols, lullabyes and other Christmas songs, sung by talented mixed ensemble Polyphony, conducted by Stephen Layton and accompanied on most tunes by the City of London Sinfonia. Favorites are the wistful, unaccompanied "There is a Flower," "Sans Day Carol," "I wonder as I wander," the lilting, joyful "Jesus Child," "The very best time of year," "Angel Tidings," "Christmas Lullabye," the exciting "Star Carol," "Carol of the Children," "Mary's Lullabye," "Angels' Carol" and the final cut, "Donkey Carol." A very special Christmas collection, sure to become some of your family's favorite music of the season! Beautiful, extensive liner notes, with a wonderful painting of the Three Wise Men on the cover. Outstanding.
Review: John Rutter composed his Requiem in 1985. The work follows the precedents of Brahms and Faure in using carefully selected texts in place of much of the standard Missa Pro defunctis sequence. The resulting composition has an arch-like formal structure within which is contained some of Rutter's most haunting (and, in the case of 'The Lord is my shepherd', well known) choral music to date. Also included are two items from the Birthday madrigals collection composed in honour of the jazz pianist George Shearing, and eight further sacred works. The double-choir Hymn to the Creator of Light is a wonderful composition, far removed from the romantic style with which Rutter has sometimes been associated; 'A disc to delight all those who admire Rutter's choral writing. Full of delights and with something for everyone. Certainly a must!' (Organists' Review)
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|Song Name||Arranger||Composer||Artist||Recording Title||Format|
|John Rutter||John Rutter||John Rutter||Five Childhood Lyrics||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|- Esurientes||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Magnificat / Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|- Et misericordia||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Magnificat / Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|- Fecit potentiam||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Magnificat / Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|- Gloria||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Magnificat / Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|- Lux aeterna||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Magnificat / Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|- Magnificat anima mea||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Magnificat / Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|- Of a Rose, a lovely Rose||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Magnificat / Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|- Pie Jesu||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Magnificat / Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|- Quia fecit mihi magna||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Magnificat / Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|- Requiem aeternam||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Magnificat / Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|- Sanctus||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Magnificat / Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|- The Lord is my shepherd||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Magnificat / Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|-Finale||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Mass Of The Children||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|-Gloria||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Mass Of The Children||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|-Kyrie||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Mass Of The Children||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|-Sanctus and Bendictus||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Mass Of The Children||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A Choral Amen||John Rutter||John Rutter||Anthem Collection||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|A Choral Fanfare||John Rutter||Millikin University Choirs||Hearts All Whole||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A Choral Fanfare||John Rutter||Polyphony||John Rutter - Requiem and other Sacred Music||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A choral fanfare||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Te Deum||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A Choral Fanfare||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||The John Rutter Collection||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A Clare Benediction||John Rutter||John Rutter||Anthem Collection||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|A Clare Benediction||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Be Thou My Vision||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A Clare Benediction||John Rutter||St. Louis Children's Choir||Holiday Highlights 2000-2003||2 CDs||MORE DETAILS|
|A Clare Benediction||John Rutter||Polyphony||John Rutter - Gloria and other Sacred Music||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A Clare Benediction||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Mass Of The Children||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A Gaelic Blessing||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Be Thou My Vision||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A Gaelic Blessing||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Gloria||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A Gaelic Blessing||John Rutter||Polyphony||John Rutter - Requiem and other Sacred Music||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A Gaelic Blessing||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||The John Rutter Collection||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A Prayer Of Saint Patrick||John Rutter||John Rutter||Anthem Collection||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|A Prayer of Saint Patrick||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Be Thou My Vision||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A prayer of Saint Patrick||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Gloria||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A Prayer of Saint Patrick||John Rutter||Polyphony||John Rutter - Requiem and other Sacred Music||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A Prayer Of St. Patrick||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||The John Rutter Collection||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A Virgin Most Pure||John Rutter||Milwaukee Children's Choir||Winter's Night||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|A virgin most pure with||John Rutter||Toronto Children's Chorus||A Ceremony of Carols||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Advent Anthem||John Rutter||Choir of Clare College||John Rutter - Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Afton Water||John Rutter||John Rutter||John Rutter||The Sprig of Thyme||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|Agnus Dei||John Rutter||Choir of Clare College||John Rutter - Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Agnus Dei||John Rutter||Polyphony||John Rutter - Requiem and other Sacred Music||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Agnus Dei||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Magnificat / Requiem||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Agnus Dei||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Mass Of The Children||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Agnus Dei||John Rutter||Concordia Choir||On Our Way Rejoicing||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|All creatures of our God and King||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Te Deum||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|All Things Bright and Beautiful||John Rutter||Shenandoah Valley Children's Choir||All Things Bright and Beautiful||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|All Things Bright And Beautiful||John Rutter||John Rutter||Anthem Collection||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|All things bright and beautiful||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Be Thou My Vision||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|All things bright and beautiful||John Rutter||Cambridge Singers||Gloria||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|