Following their acclaimed recordings of Berlioz 'Grande Messe des Morts' and Mendelssohn s 'Elijah', Paul McCreesh has once again assembled the mass forces of Gabrieli Consort & Players and Wroclaw Phiharmonic Choir to record one of the iconic masterpieces of the 20th-century oratorio repertoire. The work reflects Britten s long-held and committed pacifist beliefs. Composed to mark the consecration of a new Cathedral in Coventry, Britten combines the Latin text of the Missa pro Defunctis with nine poems by the First World War poet Wilfred Owen, which provide a moving (and frequently uncomfortable) commentary on the liturgical text. This series has already garnered substantial critical claim and a number of prestigious awards, including a BBC Music Magazine Award for Technical Excellence and two Diapason d'Or awards.
Perf (5/5) ***** Rec (5/5) ***** McCreesh creates a vast crescendo and pauses for an awestruck moment before an incandescent Hosanna...heart-stopping... a choral sound of airy, pure brilliance. His New College choristers have the ideal mix if celestial glow and nimble impatience; his orchestra is wonderfully articulate. And the sound picture has the greatest depth of range and recording... the profundity and coherence of McCreesh s reading sets a new standard for this work. --Helen Wallace, BBC Music Magazine- Christmas 2013
Intensely focussed singing, solo and choral (glinting with young voices), a dramatically persuasive performance and a gloriously immersive recording. --BBC Music Magazine Award nomination
(5/5) ***** 'McCreesh is in total command of his forces, and they are ever alert and responsive to his direction. With a superb complementary essay and imaginative packaging, this is a very attractive alternative to the composer s own recording.' --Philip Reed, Choir and Organ January/ February 2014