ALBUM TITLE: Eternal Rest
WORKS: Mass for double choir, plus works by Mäntyjärvi, Ticheli and Clausen
PERFORMER: Phoenix Bach Choir; Kansas City Chorale/Charles Bruffy
CATALOGUE NO: CHSA 5045
Martin wrote most of his Mass
in 1922, but added the Agnus
Dei in 1926. He then effectively
withdrew the whole piece for four
decades because he did not want it
to be judged as a work of art. It was,
he said, an act of faith, ‘an affair
between me and God’.
This performance has some stiff
competition, notably the Hyperion
recording by Westminster Cathedral
Choir/James O’Donnell (BBC
Music’s choral recording of the year
in 1998) but it easily holds its own.
Charles Bruffy’s pace is, except in
the Credo, rather more stately than
O’Donnell’s, but is never in the least
ponderous. The Mass is, indeed,
remarkably light in texture for most
of its duration. Martin’s style still
contained influences from German
Romanticism, but these had been
significantly leavened by his wide
studies in Italy and France.
The other works express more
specific, more personal mourning.
Ticheli’s There Will Be Rest was
written for friends whose child had
died, Clausen’s In Pace in memory
of the Cantor of a Floridan Temple.
Mantyjarvi’s Canticum Calamitatis
Maritimae commemorates the 852
passengers who died when a Baltic
ferry sank. All three are moving and