BRITTEN: War Requiem
Sabina Cvilak, soprano; Ian Bostridge, tenor; Simon Keenlyside, baritone; Choir of Eltham College; London Symphony Chorus and Orch/Gianandrea Noseda, cond
.LSO LIVE SACD 0719 (2 disks) TT: 83:48

CLAUSEN: All that hath life and breath. Praise ye the Lord. O magnum mysterium. The Tyger. The Lamb. Mass for Double Choir. Magnificat. Prayer. O vox omnes. Set me as a seal.
Sarah Tannehill, Rebecca Lloyd, Lindsey Lang, sopranos; Matthew Gladden, tenor; Kansas City Chorale/Charles Bruffy, cond.

VIVALDI: La Cetra - 12 Violin Concertos, Op. 9
Rachel Podger, violin/Holland Baroque Society
CHANNEL CLASSICS SACD CCS SA 33412 (2 disks) TT: 60:29 & 56:56

One could hardly say a new recording of Britten's War Requiem was needed. Already we have the composer's own 1963 historic first recording, superb versions directed by Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Eliot Gardiner, three by Kurt Masur, Richard Hickox, Carlo Maria Giulini, plus the historic Leinsdorf/Boston Symphony 1963 Tanglewood performance on DVD (REVIEW), However, there always is room for a great performance and this Noseda is one of them, recorded in October 2011 in the Barbican. The cast could not be stronger, chorus and orchestra are committed. John Malinson and his crew have been successful in capturing a clear, wide-range sonic picture. Producers have provided 26 tracks for the Requiem which many might find convenient. The only negative is that two disks are required—why no filler? Complete texts are provided.

American composer René Clausen (b. 1958) has a distinguished career as a composer and choral conductor. Since 1986 he has been music director of the Concordia Choir of Concord College. He composes with his performers in mind, writing relatively easy music for high school and amateur choral groups, more complex music for professionals. Some of his best-known works are included in this new collection, in particular Set Me A Seal, often heard at weddings, funerals and as a concert piece. The major work is the Mass which was commissioned by the Kansas City and Phoenix Chorales. Clausen's music is sung to perfection on this new Chandos disk, which is the seventh in a series of SACD recordings with Charles Bruffy conducting either the Phoenix or Kansas City choruses (the latest is a collection of music of Ola Gjeilo (REVIEW). The music is worthy, and the sound superb although not particularly surround. Complete texts are provided. It is unfortunate Chandos doesn't issue more SACDs of large-scale orchestral works where the advantages of SACD processing would be put to better use.

Admirers of baroque violinist Rachel Podger will welcome her latest venture into the world of Vivaldi. We now have all twelve violin concertos Op. 9, known as La Cetra. She is joined by the distinguished Holland Baroque Society, a group that has won many major awards. Their collaboration is perfection in this repertory, and Channel Classics' audio richly captures their sounds. This is a handsome package; it's unfortunate more music wasn't included—there's plenty of room.

R.E.B. (June 2012)