Review of Orchestral Requiem for the BBC Music Magazine
by Geoff Brown
Written for the choir of Gloucester Cathedral (performers on its previous recording), this too arrives in an orchestral version, newly commissioned from the composer for this release. Venables’s orchestra, however, knows when and how to keep out of the way, imposing itself only when the force of the words in the ‘Libera me’ sparks something dramatic: drum rolls. Otherwise gentle rumination is the key, with Fauré and Duruflé’s requiems never far away in mood, though the substance, as always with Venables’s vocal output, is always utterly English. This isn’t music to shake mountains, but its craftsmanship, sincerity and ability to stir the more tender emotions – well reflected in this performance – remains undeniably appealing.