Saint Salvator’s Chapel Choir (University of St Andrews), The Wallace Collection), Tim Wilkinson & Anthony George
What? You didn’t know that churches were built to mark the end of the Napoleonic Wars? Or that St James, Bermondsey (one of them) still has its original organ restored pretty much to its original state? Or that Sigismund Neukomm (1778-1858) wrote a Requiem to honour the dead of those wars as well as the memory of Louis XVI? Well, in that case, this CD is for you and you’ll enjoy it! The Requiem is for soloists, choir, organ and brass – keyed trumpet, four hand-horns and three trombones – who make relatively brief but oh-so-telling contributions at key moments. The virtuosity of any brass ensemble led by John Wallace can be taken for granted but the student choir are eminently able co-performers: several of them undertake modest but very capably sung solo passages. The Requiem is complemented by three short but action-packed works for brass ensemble. I really do recommend this, not just as something different, but as something interesting and very well performed. A pat on the back for the recording engineers too, who rise commendably to the challenges posed by these forces. The booklet is pretty much a model of how to do it. This deserves to be an unlikely hit!