The British choral composer, John Rutter, celebrates his 69th birthday today. He is deeply appreciated in the U.S. and Britain for his many choral and other compositions, for his work as a conductor and arranger. and as the founder of The Cambridge Singers. Some classical music critics, mostly in Great Britain, find his compositions to be a bit simple, repetitive, and stylistically confused. Others place him at the top among 20th century composers. I have to side with the latter appraisals. The melodies are generally simple, the harmonies beautiful, and the style affords a perfect balance of music and message. Furthermore, choirs of all sizes and skill levels perform his work to appreciative audiences everywhere. If popularity is any indicator, John Rutter's music will be enjoyed for a long, long time.
Here are two brief videos of Rutter discussing his work. The first one focuses on music for royal occasions, specifically his anthem, This is the Day, written for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The second introduces his latest compact disc released in celebration of the 30th anniversary of The Cambridge Singers.
Finally, here is a personal favorite of mine, A Gaelic Blessing, written in 1978.