Nov 06

Liszt: Graner Messe, performed by Orchestra and Chorus-Paris/Sorbonne ?????
St. Stanislaw, Cincinnati May Festival ????
Missa Choralis and Via Crucis, by Corydon Singers ????
Requiem, performed by the Hungarian Army Male Chorus ???
Sacred Choral Music, Chorus of Radio Svizzera Lugano ????

Franz Liszt is mostly known for his piano music. During his lifetime, he underwent various phases. Starting first as a virtuoso performer of the piano, Liszt set new standards throughout the music world of what was expected of a solo music performer. Eventually, he would write more complex pieces for the piano than what was then existent in order to showcase his performance technique. Later in his life, he retreated to a monastery. Living most of his life as a European playboy and “rockstar”, it is a little bit unusual to get a large proliferation of sacred music from him. Yet, the quality of this music is variable but quite good. Of all the CDs reviewed briefly here, the Graner Messe was the best in both composition and performance, and St. Stanislaw close behind. The Corydon Singers do an orchestrated version of the Via Crucis, and quite capably performed. The other Via Crucis found on the last CD was quite anemic, and was the piano and male chorus version of the work. This Via Crucis was a bit anemic, the piano version being performed much better by the Netherlands Chamber Choir and found on the Philips label. The last piece, Liszt’s Requiem, was also performed somewhat marginally, and could have been more convincing in its presentation. Though I appreciate the choral works of Liszt, I find that his piano compositions are far more enjoyable and best demonstrate Liszt’s creativity.

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