Bruckner, Choir of St Mary's Cathedral, Duncan Ferguson - Bruckner Motets

Published Monday 2nd May 2011
Bruckner, Choir of St Mary's Cathedral, Duncan Ferguson - Bruckner Motets
Bruckner, Choir of St Mary's Cathedral, Duncan Ferguson  - Bruckner Motets

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Delphian DCD34071

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) was a devout Catholic with an interest in the aims of a movement known as the Cecilians that wanted church music to look back to a supposed golden age of plainchant and unaccompanied singing as seen in the works of Palestrina. Although influenced by the Cecilians, Bruckner was never fully committed. Thus we hear the gradual "Os Justi" that fully meets their aims along with many motets with full accompaniment and often featuring Bruckner's beloved trombones, here played supremely well by The Brass Department of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. If nothing else, this is a varied selection. In just over an hour we get 17 motets ranging from the short and sweet "Zwei Totenlieder" at one minute 20 up to the almost epic six minute "Libera Me". But never mind the quantity, what of the quality? Bruckner was a troubled a soul but his music is well worth hearing. He looks back and often shows his awareness of the history of church music but neither is he afraid to follow his own path, making him one of the most significant composers of the 19th century. On this splendid recording Duncan Ferguson's Choir of St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, do him full justice. The performances blaze with fire and fervour in the vast cathedral's icy acoustic and producer/engineer Paul Baxter is to be applauded for capturing the moment so vividly.

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