Rutter Magnificat Begins to Age

John Rutter’s “Magnificat” is a re-release of the original 1991 album. The transfer’s good and the sound seems a little clearer than in the original. If you’re a fan of John Rutter and don’t own this recording, this reissue is good news.

As I listened, I thought about the changes in choral music over the past 15+ years. When Rutter released his “Magnificat,” it was an ambitious — yet accessible — composition by one of the most popular choral composers. Professional, amateur and church choirs all over the US and the UK performed Rutter works on a regular basis.

Since then, other choral composers have risen to prominence. Morten Lauridsen seemed to rule the mid-1990s with his eclectic mysticism. Eric Whitacre followed in the early 2000s, offering choral pandiatonic choral works with thick triadic harmonies.

Hearing Rutter’s “Magnificat” post-Lauridsen and Whitacre has changed my impression of the work somewhat. Some of the movements, such as “Quia fecit mihi magna” and the “Gloria Patri” sound just as beautiful and moving today as they did when I heard them in 1991. “Of a Rose, a lovely Rose” is classic Rutter, and ages well.

If you love Rutter, by all means, get this disc. But if you’re just starting your exploration of his catalog, know that this work is starting to show its age.

John Rutter: Magnificat 
Patricia Forbes, soprano 
The Cambridge Singers; City of London Sinfonia; John Rutter, conductor 
Collegium CSCDS 401

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