THE SECRET MASS – Martin and Martinů


Frank Martin: Mass for two four-part choirs

Bohuslav Martinů: Four Songs of the Virgin Mary

Frank Martin: Songs of Ariel

Bohuslav Martinů: Romance from the Dandelions

Danish National Vocal Ensemble, Marcus Creed

CD of the Week, 14 April 2018, BBC Radio 3 Record Review, Andrew McGregor “beautiful performance of Frank Martin Mass, but also Martinu’s Romance from the Dandelions. Radiant singing and recording.” 

BBC Music Magazine, September 2018 “… with piece complete with choral humming and an extensive solo for soprano, beautifully sung here. The singers deliver performances that capture the restrained radiance of these lovely works.”

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CD notes …

The centrepiece of this album is Martin’s towering masterwork, the Mass for Double Choir. Originally completed in 1926, Martin did not allow the work to be performed until 1963. After its premiere he explained: ‘I felt that a personal expression of religious belief should remain secret and hidden from public opinion.’ Thankfully Martin decided to share his secret; his Mass has become one of the 20th century’s most powerful works composed for a cappella choir. For Swiss-born Martin, his musical breakthrough came early in life when he heard a performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. His musical language draws on a wide variety of influences, including Renaissance polyphony, Hindemithian extended tonality and traces of Schoenberg’s twelve-tone system, but above all, Bach. In contrast, the urbane, cosmopolitan Martinu was a stylistic butterfly, and a bit of a late bloomer. One can easily hear traces of impressionism and Stravinskian neoclassicism throughout his mature style, but in his ?nest moments, Martinu embraces the love of folklore that inspired his elder countryman, Leos Janacek.

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