A New England Requiem

Layout 1I’ve previously enjoyed both choral music and song from Scott Perkins so I was very interested to get hold of a disk of his sacred choral works which is anchored by his A New England Requiem.  In the modern fashion this mixes text from the liturgy with poetry from various sources.  It’s quite ethereal music and distinctly churchy; more Tavener than Elgar (though really nothing like either)!  The theme is definitely “peace and rest”.  There’s no Dies irae or anything like that!  The scoring is imaginative and good use is made of the organ’s lower ranges.  The singing is very beautiful as is the playing which comes from the sixteen players plus organ and twenty six voices of the Da Capo players & Choir with Tom Mueller on the organ and Brett Allan Judson conducting. A soprano soloist from the choir, Jasmine Gish is used in places.  She has an almost vibratoless sound which suits nicely.

The disk is filed out generously with other works designed for liturgical rather than concert performance.  There are various. standard texts from the Book of Common Prayer as well as some poem settings which could be used as anthems.  This is the sort of music that anyone brought up in one of the more mainstream Protestant churches would easily recognise.  It’s devotional, in a meditational sort of way, rather like the Requiem in fact.  Again it’s all very beautiful and very well performed but it’s perhaps more music to dip into than listen to a dozen pieces on the trot.

The performances were recorded in September 2019 at St. Edmund’s, San Marino, California.  It’s beautifully recorded with a great balance of clarity and churchy reverb. The booklet has unusually fulsome info on the recording techniques sed.  The booklet also contains full texts and the composer’s own introduction to the works.

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