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The USP of this CD is that both these familiar pieces are here recorded in unfamiliar guises. Both use reduced instrumentation: the Gounod is given in an idiomatic organ arrangement (Gounod himself embarked on such an arrangement shortly before his death), while the Dvorák, which was originally conceived with organ accompaniment, is heard in a newly arranged version for wind quintet. The arrangements will make these works available to those choirs whose circumstances – financial or practical – make the composers’ full orchestral accounts impossible, and are to be lauded. The reputation of the Berlin Rundfunkchor, whose director is our own Simon Halsey (recently deservedly honoured with the Queen’s Medal for Music), is well known, and they do not disappoint on this CD under conductor Risto Joost. The Dvorák Mass, in particular, seemed to gain a great deal from the colouring of its wind accompaniment. Worth investigating.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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