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Hyperion Records

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Votive Offering (1900) by Wilhelm List (1864-1918)
Track(s) taken from CDA67017
Recording details: July 1997
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Arthur Johnson
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: January 1998
Total duration: 11 minutes 13 seconds

'Magnificent' (Gramophone)

'A recording of arresting immediacy and musical richness' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Gloriously sung. This certainly deserves to become a classic recording' (BBC Record Review)

'A work of surpassing beauty which will be a revelation to those who have not encountered it before, particularly in this fervent and inspired performance.' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'Quite remarkable' (International Record Review)

'For connoisseurs of choral music this is an essential buy. Outstanding performances of two rarely heard 20th-century masterpieces' (Classic CD)

'I have been glued to my seat discovering this quite wonderful work [Pizzetti]. The performance needs no further reecommendation; it is utterly compelling' (Organists' Review)

'Martin's Mass is a life-enhancing creation of enormous invention and fervour. The Requiem by Pizzetti is simply ravishing. The recordings are superb' (Hi-Fi News)

'Both works are simply among the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. A most beguiling combination of melody and harmony, performed here with technical near-perfection and a magnificent range of emotional colour' (Hi Fi Choice)

'Westminster Cathedral Choir here produces one of its most inspired offerings yet. This is one of the purest and finest choral recordings I have ever heard' (Church Times)

26 September 1944

Passacaille  [11'13]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
So terrified was Martin of being considered in the same critical light as his great musical idol, Bach, that he deliberately avoided writing in the same genres. It is no surprise, therefore, that he composed only one work for solo organ – an instrument indelibly associated with Bach – although in his old age he began to appreciate its flexibility as an ensemble instrument, going so far as to give it a substantial solo part in his 1972 Requiem. It is more of a surprise, however, that this one work was modelled on Bach’s C minor Passacaglia, generally considered one of his greatest organ works although, ironically, one conceived for pedal clavier rather than organ. Martin wrote his Passacaille for Kurt Wolfgang Senn who gave the first performance in Berne Cathedral on 26 September 1944. Not satisfied at that stage with the organ’s ability to create the range of colours he wanted for his music, Martin arranged the work first for strings (in 1952) and ten years later for full orchestra. He subsequently instructed organists playing the original version to use ‘registration as close as possible to my arrangement for full orchestra’. While the most powerful influence over Martin’s music was undoubtedly Bach, Martin’s mature style did not evolve until he had studied closely Schoenberg’s twelve-note system of composition. He first came across this in 1932 and while he totally rejected Schoenberg’s serial methods, he used the chromatic scale as the basis of many of his most important melodies.

from notes by Marc Rochester © 1998

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