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The DECCA ANSERMET LEGACY has been systematically releasing the vast recorded legacy of Ernest Ansermet, a key Decca artist in the 1950s and 1960s. It has become one of the most sought-after and praised of all reissue series. The latest brings together Ansermet’s Honegger recordings, including the first international release on CD of the Symphony No. 3 ‘Liturgique’ and the 3CD set includes three Swiss works on biblical texts – Honegger’s Le Roi David (King David) and Une Cantate de Noël (Christmas Cantata), and Frank Martin’s In terra pax. Best known today for his tone poem Pacific 231 (of Ansermet’s two recordings of the piece, the second, in stereo, is featured here) and said to have been inspired by the massive physical energy of a railway engine, Honegger’s other music receives only rare outings in the concert hall. Although it has, in the last two decades, enjoyed greater representation on record, Ernest Ansermet was one of the composer’s pioneers and these recordings represent some of the most notable and widely available efforts. To mark the cessation of hostilities in 1945 around Europe, Radio Geneva in Switzerland commissioned a celebratory work from Frank Martin, the ‘oratorio breve’ In terra pax (Peace on Earth). Martin set the work joyfully, feeling that he was somehow, like Bach, in the privileged situation of an old master working for the church.
“This double CD set is almost worth its cost for the performance of Pacific 231 - one of the most vividly descriptive tone-poems of the twentieth century...Ansermet's is perhaps the finest ever committed to disc: it has a powerful, cumulative effect which is compelling from bar one...it is a magnificent recording of a magnificent performance of a magnificent piece.”
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