Highly polished performances of 3 beautiful works by a 20th century master, one of them a rarity. The Sonata da Chiesa, or church sonata, was composed in 1938 for viola d'amore and organ; Martin arranged the accompaniment for strings in 1952. The one-movement piece falls into 3 sections, 2 slow meditations framing a dance-like middle portion. It's a lovely work that deserves to be heard more often: this is the 1st recording I've run across (you'll find several of the version for flute and organ), and it's a beautiful one. The Etudes for String Orchestra (1955-56) give players a chance to show their virtuosity (a bit like Britten's "Frank Bridge" Variations): a dotted-rhythm Overture precedes the 4 "studies," respectively for "linked gestures,""pizzicato,""expression & sostenuto" and "fugal style." There have been wittier performances than this -- the syncopations in the "pizzicato" study are a bit "straight" -- but this is a rhythmically alert, suavely played version. Polyptyque -- the title is spelled wrong throughout -- dates from 1973 and was composed for violinist Yehudi Menuhin & conductor Edmond de Stoutz & his Zurich Chamber Orchestra. It's one of Martin's most profound works, & it receives a fine performance here (though recent versions on MDG and ECM are my top modern picks). Only negative: the sound in the Etudes & Polyptyque, though admirably clear, is a bit dry, with traces of glassiness in the upper strings; the Sonata da Chiesa is more warmly recorded. Finally, the English-language notes make a number of errors in translating the German originals; more seriously, Martin's own thoughts on Polyptyque are translated from the German notes, not the original French, and the French notes are a back-translation of the German.