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This collection draws together many of the much-loved and most-requested shorter choral works by John Rutter.
Gathered from across the Collegium catalogue, Be thou my vision includes all of the church anthems and other sacred pieces for which Rutter is justly famous, representing for the first time a handy compendium of the best-loved Rutter works in their definitive performances by the Cambridge Singers, directed by the composer.
The term ‘anthem’ sometimes causes some puzzlement. It is nothing more than a piece of music for choir which is sung at a certain point in a church service, and it can be a setting of any sacred text in any language, though if it is in Latin the term ‘motet’ is preferred when the service is a Mass rather than an Anglican office. Anthems can be short or long, simple or complex, accompanied or for choir alone (the term for this is a cappella), and among the twenty-one anthems on this disc you will find examples of all these types. In church the accompaniment is generally for organ, but the use of instruments or even whole orchestras is not uncommon, especially in the United States, and most of my anthem accompaniments exist in both organ and orchestral versions. The orchestral versions (which I have to admit I prefer, because I love writing for orchestra) are the ones recorded here.
Almost all my church music has been written in response to commissions or invitations from churches or individuals connected with them—in my earlier years, from the USA more than anywhere else—generally in celebration of some special occasion or anniversary. I remember many of these people and places fondly.
There is no reason not to enjoy church music outside of church, and I hope this recorded recital gives you pleasure.
John Rutter © 1990