Remembrance – Duruflé: Requiem, Op 9; and works for a cappella chorus by Richard Farrant, Thomas Tomkins, John Tavener, Robert Ramsey, William Harris, W H Monk, Edward Elgar and Thomas Weelkes

Reviewed on Wed 16 Nov, 2016

The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, has some of the most beautifully clear choral sound I’ve ever heard recorded, with fine tone and perfect intonation.

This “Remembrance” disc draws on five centuries of music to commemorate the victims of two world wars. The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, has some of the most beautifully clear choral sound I’ve ever heard recorded, with fine tone and perfect intonation, even in the pungent and dangerous cross-relations favored by the Tudor composers, as well as in the haunting Song for Athene by John Tavener (1944-2013), so familiar from its performance at Princess Diana’s funeral. Other notable items are the Kontakion of the Dead from the Eastern Orthodox liturgy, nearly all of it in pure triads, modal in C major and A minor, and the seldom-heard but lovely They Are at Rest by Elgar. The largest selection is the beloved Requiem by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986) with organ and solo cello, composed in 1947; much of this is as gentle as Fauré’s famous example, but with melodic lines like plainchant, richly harmonized in a complex post-Ravel idiom.
–Mark DeVoto