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Martin: Requiem Import

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
  • Composer: Frank Martin
  • Audio CD (13 Dec. 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Jecklin,Zü
  • ASIN: B000009ICA
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 607,131 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Swiss composer Frank Martin (1890-1974) wrote some of the most profound & directly communicative religious music of the 20th century. His early Mass for Unaccompanied Double Chorus has become very popular, and there are multiple recordings of In Terra Pax & Golgotha, his 2 great French-language oratorios of the 1940s. The Requiem (1971-72) is a major work of his last years; though it isn't as well known as the earlier pieces, it's every bit as inspired & accessible.
From one angle, it stands directly in the line of the "big" settings of the Latin text by Berlioz, Verdi & Britten, among others: symphony orchestra, large chorus, 4 prominently used soloists. There's no lack of size or drama in the "Dies Irae," with its 5 percussionists plus timpani, or the joyous peal of sound that opens the final "Lux aeterna." But it's also a highly ritualized piece that places the words & meanings of the liturgical text front & center at all times. To pick out only a few of the memorable moments: the desolate sound of the solo oboe in the "Recordare," the mysterious exaltation of the "Sanctus," with its bells & ghostly harpsichord runs, the spiritual nakedness of the "Agnus Dei" (for alto solo & organ only), the consoling beauty of the "In Paradisum," & finally the A major blaze at the end - a "leap of faith" made real in music.
For many years, this was the only available recording of the Requiem: the world premiere in Lausanne in 1973, led by the 82-year-old composer - a great occasion & a memorable performance, despite a few rough orchestral moments, and one brief tape glitch near the start. The soloists are all excellent and sing with real fervor, as does the chorus; indeed, there is a sense of profound conviction from all involved. The sound is excellent.
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