WORKS: Glagolitic Mass; Psalmus hungaricus
PERFORMER: Tina Kiberg (soprano), Randi Stene (alto), Peter Svensson (tenor), Ulrik Cold (bass), Per Salo (organ); Copenhagen Boys’ Choir, Danish National RSO & Choir/ Charles Mackerras
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9310 DDD
Without doubt, this is one of the most important recordings of music by Janácek in recent years. Paul Wingfield’s restoration of the original performing version of the Glagolitic Mass is a fine piece of work and deserves to become the standard text.
Those familiar with the Mass will notice changes right at the start, where the ‘Intrada’ (normally the conclusion) appears twice, at both the beginning and end. This introduces a number of fundamental alterations to rhythm and instrumentation which make for a markedly different whole: undoubtedly harder to perform, but infinitely sharper in outline. Most remarkable of all are the timpani solos in the middle section of the Credo which add astonishing force to the choir’s announcement of the Crucifixion.
The Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir respond to this novelty with a will. The soloists, especially the tenor Peter Svensson, are beyond praise and Mackerras’s way with this music has a clarity and coherence that make the majority of other performers of the Mass on record seem like sleep walkers. Excellently recorded and attractively accompanied by a fine rendition of Kodály’s Psalmus hungaricus, this performance of the Glagolitic Mass is the one to have. Jan Smaczny