LABELS: ECM Records
PERFORMER: Iva Bittová (voice), Milo? Valent, (violin, viola); Bratislav Conservatory Choir/Dusan Bill; Solamente Naturali/Marek tryncl
Godár, like Arvo Pärt, employed serial techniques until he began to explore early music and, also like Pärt, has evolved a sound world which, though thoroughly pervaded with echoes of medieval and Renaissance music, speaks directly to contemporary sensibilities.
This cantata, a meditation on the archetypes of Woman and Mother, originated as six independent pieces composed between 1997 and 2005.
Sometimes that shows. ‘Luspavanky’ (2001-03) fits least easily: the opening section most obviously acknowledges a debt to Pärt’s example when tart upper strings cut across the stately chant, and the final part includes turns of phrase and harmonies that might have been penned by Andrew Lloyd-Webber.
In the context they stick out like the proverbial. So does the Tudor dance music of ‘Regina Coeli’ but it’s so charming that you don’t mind. Mostly Mater convinces as a coherent whole.
The atmosphere of timeless, serenely enraptured mysticism is maintained beautifully, particularly in the ‘Magnificat’ (2003) with its gorgeous vocal line over ghostly tolling and string drone.
Being on ECM, the sound is predictably impeccable, doing full justice to Godár’s ravishing scoring and the superb performances: Bittova will break your heart in the ‘Stabat Mater’ (2001).