Bruckner Motets

COMPOSERS: Bruckner
LABELS: MDG Records
WORKS: Motets: Christus factus est;Vexilla regis; Libere me etc
PERFORMER: Czech PhilharmonicChoir Brno/Petr Fiala

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The least often performed of Bruckner’s mature works are his short choral pieces, though they may be used in churches for liturgical purposes.

He went on producing them from his early twenties until just before his death, his last completed work being ‘Ecce sacerdos magnus’, which is on this disc, while five different settings of ‘Tantum ergo’ are from 1846, when he was 22. Most of these 17 pieces are unaccompanied and purely choral, but three are accompanied by three trombones, a striking effect; two have a soloist; and four are accompanied by the organ.

Few would guess that they were Bruckner, though occasionally the harmonies are so daring that few composers would have dared to use them – Liszt, perhaps, sounds most like this in some of his late works.

The performances here are given by a Czech choir with a characteristic central European sound, rougher, more throaty than one would expect from a British choir, and in that way welcome to me.

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They are not, I think, to be listened to straight through except by a conscientious reviewer. But they are impressive, and I suggest going to the last three first to find that out.