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Honegger: Symphonies Nos. 2-4, Pacific 231, Le Roi David & Cantata de Noel
Symphony No. 2 in D for strings and trumpet
Symphony No. 3, H186 'Liturgique'
Symphony No. 4 'Deliciae Basilienses'
Movement symphonique No. 1 'Pacific 231'
Le Roi David
Suzanne Danco (soprano), Marie-Lise de Montmollin, Pauline Martin (mezzo-sopranos), Michel Hamer (tenor) & Stéphane Audel (narrator)
Chœur des Jeunes de l’Église National Vaudoise
Une cantate de Noël
Pierre Mollet (baritone)
Chœur des Jeunes, Lausanne, Chœur de Radio Lausanne, Le Petit Chœur du Collège de Villamont
In terra pax
Ursula Buckel (soprano), Marga Höffgen (contralto), Ernst Haefliger (tenor), Pierre Mollet (baritone) & Jakob Stämpfli (bass)
Union Chorale, Chœur des Dames de Lausanne, L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
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.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition
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“…In terra pax… is an eloquent and powerful work to which the late lamented Marcello Viotti and a fine if less well-known team of soloists bring much feeling and fine musical judgement. …it is Golgotha…which is the masterpiece here… Golgotha… can claim the distinction of being the first major Passion since Bach. Indeed, not to mince matters, it is without question one of the greatest choral works of the 20th century. For all the power of the choral writing, the orchestral textures are luminous, translucent and subtle. There is an affinity at a profound level with the Debussy of Pelléas, particularly in the glowing final section, 'La Résurrection'. But the whole work is noble, inspired - and inspiring!” BBC Music Magazine, January 2006 *****
“Frank Martin served as 'artistic director' to the 1968 Erato recording of Golgotha so… it does have the stamp of authority about it. But, in every area - interpretative commitment, recorded sound or the musical and technical assurance of the performers - Marcello Viotti and his Munich musicians are in a league of their own. Viotti draws every last ounce of drama and passion from the score and creates a truly epic performance. ...with playing and singing which is never less than outstanding as well as a ravishing recorded sound, this three-disc set must stand as one of the finest recordings yet made of Frank Martin's music.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2005
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