John Rutter
Mass of the Children
Feel the Spirit

Winter 2005 Concert Notes

Tina Johns Heidrich, Conductor
Joseph Jacovino, Jr., Accompanist
Litchfield County Children's Choir
Connecticut Master Chorale Orchestra
- Soloists -
Louise Fauteux - Soprano
Laine Diamond - Mezzo Soprano
Michael Cavalieri - Baritone

Sunday March 13, 2005 - 3:00pm
St. Rose of Lima Church, Newtown, Connecticut

- Review - CD -

John Rutter is undoubtedly the most successful living composer of choral music, and he has out-done himself with these two new works.

Mass of the Children – John Rutter

John Rutter
John Rutter
b. 1945

Mass of the Children is, unquestionably, John Rutter's most magnificent, powerful and emotional composition. It is absolutely breathtaking! It is Rutter at his best. Of all the different major compositions he has written, it has a beautiful new element of a children's chorus. The exquisite blending of children and adult voices in Maestro Rutter's wonderful writing is mesmerizing.

The text of Mass of the Children is that of a standard Latin Missa brevis (a Mass not including a "Credo" section) to which several relevant English poetic texts have been added. This work, completed in early 2003 and first performed at a Carnegie Hall concert, is full of promise. Its exciting, engaging, Britten-esque tune for children's chorus captures our attention. It sets the stage for a fresh new experience with very fine, well-fashioned music.

In March of 2001 Rutter sustained the most painful loss of his young son, a computer whiz and a singer. It happened right outside the Clare Chapel, the focal point of Rutter’s enitre life. After this tragedy Rutter could not find inspiration to write for over two years, but when he finally emerged, he wrote Mass of the Children.

Perhaps this was Rutter's way of paying tribute to his son, clearing his soul of torment, and moving back into the light of creation - a personal catharsis. Many of the familiar and well-loved staples of Rutter's music are here: the flowing melodies, catchy rhythms, and pop-tinged harmonies. Mass of the Children is an irresistable work, crafted with eloquence in Rutter's own distinguishable sound. The soaring vocal lines of the combined choirs in the final movement are positively chilling!

The Connecticut Master Chorale will be joined by the Litchfield County Children's Choir in the performance of Mass of the Children.

Feel the Spirit – John Rutter

John Rutter with Tina Heidrich
John Rutter with
Tina Heidrich

Feel the Spirit is a cycle of seven spirituals arranged for chorus, mezzo-soprano soloist and orchestra. Rutter came up with the idea after hearing Melanie Marshal’s solo interpretations of spirituals in her recitals. Rutter thought that her artistry in this area of song would be just as effective in the fuller context of choir and orchestra. Together they chose seven of their favorite spirituals. They include "Joshua Fit the Battle," "Steal Away," "I Got a Robe," "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," "Every time I Feel the Spirit," "Deep River," and a rousing rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In."

Like Mass of the Children, Feel the Spirit was also first performed at Carnegie Hall in June 2001. It's wonderfully crafted and highly appealing Rutter arrangements are gorgeous, vibrant, unique and classy topped off with a "makes-you-want-to-jump-up-and-shout-'Yeah!'" ending!!