Requiem Aeternam – The Scotsman
The pairing of unaccompanied choral music by Englishman Herbert Howells and Swiss composer Frank Martin is an inspired one. The acerbic rhythms and harmonies of Martin’s 1926 Mass offer an astringent foil to the cushioned late Romantic glow of Howells’s 1935 Requiem. Generally sound performances by the London-based Vasari Singers under director Jeremy Backhouse – there are a few dubious moments of tuning – give depth to the Requiem’s tempered emotion. The inclusion of Howell’s 1964 Motet on the Death of President Kennedy adds to the meditative tone that colours this CD.