Martin: Mass for double choir, plus works by Mäntyjärvi, Ticheli and Clausen

COMPOSERS: Martin
LABELS: Chandos
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

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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

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well made.