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This CD, which was recorded in 2010, joins John Scott’s fine CDs of the Fauré Requiem and Rachmaninov’s Vespers on the same label. Coupling the Duruflé and Howells Requiems is unusual, but both adopt slightly unconventional paths to the Office of the Dead and share something of a reliance on modal harmony. Scott and his forces are very convincing in Howells’s 1936 Requiem, written in memory of the composer’s son who died in 1935. Their account of the better-known Duruflé Requiem (given with organ accompaniment) is nicely shaped, but the acoustics of Saint Thomas, Fifth Avenue, swallow many of the choir’s consonants and thereby renders their sound as too veiled. Both soloists are highly accomplished and deliver their contributions with conviction. Separating the two Requiems is Vaughan Williams’s motet Valiant-for-truth, from Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, which was a response to the death of a friend. Scott here gives it a neat, slightly cool reading.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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