COMPOSERS: F Martin,Honegger
CATALOGUE NO: See text for individual catalogue numbers
The Swiss Cascavelle label corrals its respective Arthur Honegger and Frank Martin holdings into a pair of commemorative box sets. I can’t imagine a more expedient and cost-effective way to acquire HONEGGER’s dramatic oratorios and symphonic output in a single purchase.
If Fabio Luisi’s fine traversals of the symphonies and symphonic movements face formidable competition from individual recordings by Münch, Dutoit, Jansons, Zinman and Karajan, agile, well-groomed choral work distinguishes Michel Corboz’s Le roi David, Judith and Christmas and Easter Cantatas (VEL 3025, 9 discs, £79.99).
The MARTIN set includes Corboz’s superbly sung if soft-grained reading of Martin’s Passion oratorio Golgotha, plus In terra pax and Et la vie l’emporta. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, alongside such other vocal legends as Hugues Cuenod and Elly Ameling, grace treasures from the Suisse Romande Radio archives, led by Ernest Ansermet (including the 1959 world premiere of Le mystère de la nativité).
If you’re new to Martin’s very personal brand of neo-classicism, however, go directly to his song cycle Der Cornet for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra. Brigitte Balleys’s sweet-toned alto provides an interesting interpretative foil to Marjana LipovŽek’s lustier, more fervent presentation (Orfeo).
Either way, don’t miss out on this and other underrated 20th-century masterpieces (VEL 3027, 8 discs, £68.99).