MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902-1986)
Requiem, Op. 9 (1961 version with small orchestra) [37:36]
Quatre Motets sur des Thèmes Grégoriennes, Op. 10 (1960) [7:32]
Messe ‘Cum Jubilo’, Op. 11 (1967 version with organ) [20:41]
Patricia Bardon (mezzo); Ashley Riches (bass-baritone) Tom Etheridge and Richard Gowers (organ)
Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Stephen Cleobury
rec. 7-8, 11-12 January 2015, Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge
Latin texts and English translations included

This is another lovely disc from the King’s College own label. Who on earth said that the record industry was dead? Individual labels allow little gems like this to appear on the market under the control of the artists, and that’s a lovely thing for listeners like you and me.

King’s have, of course, recorded the Duruflé Requiem before, but Cleobury sets his mark on it here, and having the orchestra really helps. The magical opening, for example, is a tremulous, quivering mass of sound, like the primordial sludge at the beginning of a science fiction film, from which this glorious music is conjured, the choir rising about it like the spirit over the waters.

It's then the organ that brings light from darkness at the beginning of the Domine Jesu Christe, over which the altos seem to hang suspended in mid-air until the dark drama of Libera eas. The violins also help enormously, as they soar dove-like above the choral line of the Agnus Dei, and having the trumpets and drums for the Dies Iraq puts the organ-only version into the shade.

The boys produce a translucent, radiant sound, while the men create a rock solid base in which to anchor them. Listen to the way the Kyrie seems to float upwards from the entry of the baritones, or the tremulous drama created by the tenors and basses at Suscipe with the collusion of the orchestral strings. Singing in simple unison, the choir achieves the most beatific peace during the Requiem aeternam section of the Lux aeterna, before a much more serious mood enters for the Libera me with its dramatic climaxes and urgent pleading, particularly effective from the boys in the opening section. The famous Sanctus is a masterclass in the slow build, moving like a great arch from the shuddering opening (that primordial soup again!) to the great climax on Hosanna, then back down to the Benedictus, and the work’s final In paradisum has a superb sense of mystery to it. Patricia Bardon sounds perhaps a little too matronly (warbly?) in the Pie Jesu, but that’s my only criticism.

They are helped by the chapel’s famously resonant acoustic, which is caught wonderfully by engineers who have already proved their worth in their stunning Gabrieli disc. The sound homes in on the choir more closely for the four motets, all, of which are sung with clarity and directness (they do this sort of thing so often that the could manage it in their sleep), though the boys sound a little uncomfortable in the Tota pulchra es.

Scored only for baritones (plus a baritone soloist) the Messe cum jubilo has a much darker colour than the requiem, but it is given the same level of commitment, and it's actually rather lovely to hear only one section of the choir spotlit and given the chance unencumbered to do its own thing. The choral line isn't particularly interesting (its unison throughout), but the Gregorian lines, so important to the composer, get the chance to shine in an unadulterated form, and the variety of sound emanating from the organ is marvellous, as is Ashley Riches’ dramatic solo line.

It's difficult to put your finger on exactly why, but to me there is something rather Gallic about their pronunciation; vowels slightly occluded and lots of head voice to add character. Maybe that's just a placebo on my part, but either way I really liked it, and I liked the disc as a whole, too. For a mixed choir version I still think it’s hard to beat Accentus, but if it’s boys you’re after then this one is very good.

Simon Thompson

Previous review: John Quinn



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing