Composer and conductor Bob Chilcott (born 1955) has been steeped in the British choral tradition since he was a boy chorister. A former member of The King’s Singers, he is now one of the UK’s most prolific and creative choral composers, writing appealingly direct and accessible music with memorable melodies reminiscent of John Rutter at his best. Of his most recent large-scale work, his Requiem (2010), Chilcott says he was initially ‘terrified by the idea’ of writing a work with such a weight of history behind it, but he has certainly risen to the challenge: his Requiem is characterized by a gentle, forgiving atmosphere clearly modelled on Fauré’s Requiem, with a crystalline, reflective Pie Jesu for solo soprano at the emotional heart of the work. This and the other works performed here, all first recordings, are beautifully performed by Wells Cathedral Choir and Matthew Owens, The Nash Ensemble and two superb young soloists.
Although this is music steeped in the Anglican mainstream, there is just enough of a French influence to prevent it from becoming anodyne and nebulous...The addition of a wind quartet and timpani brings a freshness and piquancy to the timbral palette...Matthew Owens draws impassioned and beautiful performances throughout this delightful disc. Gramophone
A listener to Chilcott’s Requiem will quickly identify that it is in the lineage of reflective, consolatory settings by such as Fauré and Duruflé...The solo writing is light and fluent and Andrew Staples, with his clear, easy tone is ideal for this assignment...Matthew Owens leads a dedicated, eloquent performance. MusicWeb
Can something be too beautiful? It's a thought that struck me occasionally, listening to Bob Chilcott's new Requiem...there's plenty of fluid writing for the choir and two excellent soloists, whose interaction produces ravishing textures. By the end, however, I felt over-cosseted and in need of aural roughage...The Wells Choir attacks both pieces with evidence relish. BBC ***