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BBC Music Magazine (UK):"The singers deliver performances that capture the restrained radiance of these lovely works."

August 2, 2018

Jan Smaczny, BBC Music Magazine

2 times 4 stars
Frank martin turned reticence about the public exposure of his music into a fine art. His Mass for two choirs was composed in 1922, but did not see the light of day until 1963 and then only because of the German conductor Franz Brunnert. Why so coy? The Kyrie with its sinuous modal choral lines has immediate appeal. The Gloria shows a certain affinity with the double choir motets of Bach, but the result is individual and also engaging.
Composed nearly 30 years later, Martin´s atmospheric settings of familiar verse from Shakespeare´s The Tempest shares the post-impressionist world of the Mass, but with a rather sharper edge. In both works, the Danish National Vocal Ensemble, directed by Marcus Creed, produces an excellently-integrated sound, although they might have been bolder in defining climatic phrases in the longer movements.
Both of the Martinu works recorded here have strong folk roots. While outwardly simple, the Four Songs for Mary, composed in 1934, go well beyond their initial, folk-songs inspiration with rich harmonies and a clear blend of depth and humour. The Romance of the Dandelions belongs to a group of cantatas composed toward the end of his life and rich in nostalgia for his youth in the Bohemian-Moravian highland. The textures are more experimental, with choral humming and an extensive solo for soprano, beautifully sung her. The choir´s Chech declamation could be more pointed, but overall the singers deliver performances that capture the restrained radiance of these lovely works. Jan Smaczny. August 2018

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