Review By John Quinn,MusicWeb International,June 2006
Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009
John Rutter tells us that the wrote the Mass of the Children to join together children’s and adults’ voices, remembering his own boyhood experience, remembering his own boyhood experience, singing in the choir for the Decca recording of Britten’s War Requiem: ‘I wanted to write a work that would bring them [adults and children] together in a more joyful context than a requiem.’ The brief Wedding Canticle is written serenely for mixed choir, flute and guitar, and is directly and beautifully presented here as a closing bonus. But it did not seem an ideal choice to include on this CD Rutter’s song-cycle, Shadows, which apparently attempts to recreate the tradition of the melancholy lute songs of the Elizabethan era. They are
Review By ,CNN.com,November 2006
Few of us are lucky enough to look back on childhood musical memories and answer them with composition of our own, let alone the charmingly consoling work that Englishman John Rutter brings to this recording. His 2002 "Mass of the Children," he writes, comes from his youthful singing on the first recording of the Britten "War Requiem." Looking for "a more joyful context," he has penned even a crashing "Angus Dei" that never stops searching for redemption, adult and children's voices harmonized in a reaching, bracing sonic declaration of shared support. Naxos' CD also includes the 1979 song cycle "Shadows" and the 2004 setting of the Anglican marriage text, "Wedding Canticle."
Review By Greenfield,American Record Guide,October 2006
In his Mass for the Children, John Rutter incorporates a youth choir into the choral mix and assigns it extra-liturgical interludes, most notably Thomas Ken's 'Awake My Soul' in the Kyrie and William Blake's 'Little Lamb' in (where else?) the Agnus Dei. But, clocking in at just under 36 minutes, the Mass (Rutter's first�ever setting of the liturgy) is no Missa Brevis; each of the five sections lasts from 6 to 9 min�utes. Rutter skips the Credo. His Finale is a Dona Nobis Pacem that puts the soloists to work with sacred texts from the 5th and 16th centuries before superimposing 'Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow' from the children atop a choral Agnus Dei. It works very well-the most affecting portion of the Mass by far. Good things lurk elsewhere too, though grumpier souls more....
Review By Hazel Davis,MUSO,July 2006
Children's choirs - and Rutter's music, for that matter - are not everybody's cup of tea. But even the most ardent cynic couldn't fail to be warmed by this.
Mass of the Children is satisfyingly melodic and just on the right side of sentimental, and the combination of adult and children's voices makes for an ambitious and stirring piece.
Scored for adult choir, orchestra and children's choir, the mass was written towards the end of 2002 and received its first performance in February 2003 in New York's Carnegie Hall. On this new disc from Naxos (produced by Rutter), it is performed by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge and Farnham Youth Choir.
The mass is structured to reflect a single day - Rutter's version of 24, if you like, but with less Kiefer Sutherland - and more....
Review By Randy Anderson,Naxos,June 2006
The title of this latest large-scale work from British composer John Rutter may raise a faint alarm in the back of your head, and it should: any combination of the terms "mass" and "children" is liable to refer to something cloying and saccharine. In this case, though, the music is classic Rutter: melodically accessible and maybe just a little bit oversweetened, but well within the bounds of good taste. His mass setting involves both children's and adults' voices, and scatters hymn settings in among the traditional liturgical elements. Very nice.
Review By ,International Record Review,May 2006
Review By David Vernier,ClassicsToday.com,April 2006
John Rutter's Mass of the Children was recorded by the composer and his Cambridge Singers shortly after the work's premiere in 2003. That version, for soprano and baritone soloists, children's choir, adult choir, and orchestra, appeared on Collegium Records and was strongly recommended here; for the review, which includes a discussion of the Mass itself, type Q6863 in Search Reviews. The version recorded here by the Clare College Choir (Rutter's former choir) and Timothy Brown (for whom Rutter wrote the Wedding Canticle that concludes the disc) replaces the orchestra with chamber ensemble and organ with no loss of the original's exuberant spirit or essential texture and color. These choirs are every bit as competent and confident as Rutter's own forces, but with a decided edge
Review By Robert Levine,Amazon.com,April 2006
Beginning with the last piece on this CD, we have a brief Wedding Canticle, a graceful, lovely melody sung smoothly by the choir and underpinned by the odd but also gentle combination of flute and guitar. The middle work, Shadows, is a song cycle composed in 1979 and consisting of eight songs based on 16th- and 17th-century poems; the subject matter is sleep, death and dream-states . . . The Mass of the Children, however, which takes up most of the CD, is a beautiful, affecting work. It begins with a lively tune and moves at once into a well-blended "Kyrie"; the "Benedictus" is rich and full, with both children's and adult's choirs joining together. The "Agnus Dei" incorporates William Blake's "The Lamb" into the usual text, with the kids' voices intoning it with charm, and the