on 22 June 2016
An excellent performance of this rarely-heard but important work. Soloists and chorus are on fine form. The first part of the oratorio consists largely of orchestral tone-paintings whose chamber-music-like textures are presented here with admirable lucidity. The more dramatic music of the Miracle in the second part and the Stabat Mater Dolorosa of the third come over with stunning intensity, not mere volume.
Though the work contains few of the obvious modernisms of (say) "Via Crucis" or "Ossa Arida", its overall feel is strikingly ahead of its time - especially in the purely instrumental sections, there is a sense that Liszt is composing directly with his raw sound-material in the manner of Debussy or Varese, rather than setting up melodic and harmonic tensions in the classical manner.