Author Topic: Frank Martin  (Read 24618 times)

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Offline edward

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Frank Martin
« on: September 01, 2007, 06:56:23 AM »
I couldn't find a thread here (pretty sure there was one on the old GMG).

I just put on a superb aircheck of Thomas Quasthoff singing the Sechs Monologe aus 'Jedermann' (with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under Claudio Abbado) and was reminded once again what a remarkable song cycle this is, even if the overt emotion in it is somewhat atypical of the composer.

Any other admirers of this composer wanting to share insights or favourite works and recordings?
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Offline The new erato

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2007, 07:07:56 AM »
I couldn't find a thread here (pretty sure there was one on the old GMG).

I just put on a superb aircheck of Thomas Quasthoff singing the Sechs Monologe aus 'Jedermann' (with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under Claudio Abbado) and was reminded once again what a remarkable song cycle this is, even if the overt emotion in it is somewhat atypical of the composer.

Any other admirers of this composer wanting to share insights or favourite works and recordings?
Just when this thread was popping up, I was listening to this:



A Penguin Rosette at mid-price.

Other Martin CDs I strongly recommend:









My last recommendation, the DG CD with Thierry Fischer of various concertante works, seems to be OOP.

One of my favorite composers!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2007, 12:25:21 PM »
"In Terra Pax" is my favourite work by Martin since I had it on an old Decca LP coupled with Ansermet's recording of Honegger's "King David", a great double LP from my youth!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2007, 03:08:30 PM »
"In Terra Pax" is my favourite work by Martin since I had it on an old Decca LP coupled with Ansermet's recording of Honegger's "King David", a great double LP from my youth!

Funny that-it was the very same recording of "In Terra Pax" that first alerted me to the genius of Frank Martin!! Since then I have discovered his other great choral works-"Golgotha", "Le Mystere de la Nativite", "Pilate" and the wonderfully beautiful Requiem which deserves to be far better known.

Martin is a composer of great distinction, a serious composer with extremely refined taste and sensitivities who developed his own unique style mostly during the second half of his life. The Violin Concerto is one of the finest of its kind in 20th century music but many of his short orchestral pieces reward study. He is not necessarily a composer whose music seizes the attention on first hearing but the subtle beauty of so many of his works reveal themselves gradually and prove Martin as-in my opinion-the finest Swiss composer and one of the greatest of the last century.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2007, 12:28:10 AM »
Golgotha and In Terra Pax are great works, and I was tempted to link to them in my first post.

I would dearly love to have recordings of "Le Mystere de la Nativite", "Pilate" and the Requiem - but the records companies aren't exactly queuing up to record them. Recomendatoins for available recordings?

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2007, 06:19:40 AM »
Golgotha and In Terra Pax are great works, and I was tempted to link to them in my first post.

I would dearly love to have recordings of "Le Mystere de la Nativite", "Pilate" and the Requiem - but the records companies aren't exactly queuing up to record them. Recomendatoins for available recordings?

The recordings of "Le Mystere de la Nativite" and "Pilate" which I have are in a boxed set on the Swiss label Cascavelle with Ernest Ansermet conducting the Suisse Romande Orchestra. The recordings are of live performances from 1959 and 1966 respectively and both are in mono. Obviously the sound quality is not of the best modern quality but Ansermet was a superb interpreter of Martin's music. There is an alternative version of "Pilate" in another boxed set on the Profil label coupled with "Golgotha" and "In Terra Pax" with the Munich Radio Orchestra conducted by Marcello Viotti and Ulf Schirmer but I have not heard that CD. The version of the Requiem is on the Swiss Jecklin label and is a recording of the 1973 live performance from Lausanne Cathedral in which Martin himself conducted the Suisse Romande. This was the premiere of the work and was recorded only one year before the composer's death. Martin was 83 but the performance radiates the sublime beauty of what is, I believe, one of the finest Requiems composed in the last century.

Neither of the CDs I have in my collection shows up in Amazon but there is apparently a version of the Requiem conducted by Klaus Knall(who he?) on the Musiques Suisse label at $19.98 and the review on Amazon speaks highly of the performance!

Hope that helps.

Offline val

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2007, 12:08:57 AM »
Great thread. Martin is one of the greatest composers of the century.

To me, his supreme masterpiece is the cycle of songs on Rilke's poems "Der Cornet", one of the most powerful and deeply touching cycle of Lieder I heard since Schubert. Lipovsek and Zagrosek are good, but I prefer the more subtle version of Jard van Nes and De Leeuw.

The cello concerto, from 1965, is another beautiful work.

Golgotha, in the tradition of Honegger's oratorios, with a more popular language, has very strong moments.

Other masterpieces of Frank Martin: Jedermann (with Fischer Dieskau!), the Requiem, the Mass for double choir and the Oratorio In Terra Pax, the 2nd piano concerto.

It is a pity but I never heard Le vin herbé.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2007, 05:11:32 AM »


It is a pity but I never heard Le vin herbé.
Easy to rectify - the new Harmonia Mundi recording is sublime and in very good sound.

Offline Guido

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2007, 10:57:56 AM »
Another vote for the cello concerto here - it's a real gem. The first movement has a particularly memorable sax solo.
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Offline MishaK

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2007, 09:25:05 AM »
There are some very fine performances of Frank Martin's music (including Sechs Monologe aus Jedermann) on the Concertgebouw Anthology sets.

karlhenning

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2007, 09:31:02 AM »
I have, alas! listened to entirely too little of Martin's music thus far.

The good news, though, is that the BSO are playing his Petite symphonie concertante in February, and I'll be there, with my hair in a braid!

karlhenning

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2007, 09:31:43 AM »
Another vote for the cello concerto here - it's a real gem. The first movement has a particularly memorable sax solo.

A cello concerto, with a saxophone solo?  I think I like it already!  ;)

Offline edward

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2007, 11:18:10 AM »
I have, alas! listened to entirely too little of Martin's music thus far.

The good news, though, is that the BSO are playing his Petite symphonie concertante in February, and I'll be there, with my hair in a braid!
That's an excellent way to rectify a lack of Martin: a most appealing work indeed (and IMO more effective in the Petite form than the full-orchestral Symphonie concertante).
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Offline Maciek

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2007, 12:58:45 PM »
A cello concerto, with a saxophone solo?  I think I like it already!  ;)

That's another piece waiting on my computer to be listened to (thanks, Guido!). The Brian is over, so I guess I'll move on to the Martin now. :)

bwv 1080

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2007, 01:02:56 PM »
Gotta mention the Quatre Pieces Breves for guitar.  Segovia rejected it for being too modern leaving Julian Bream to champion the piece

johnQpublic

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2007, 03:50:58 PM »
I have a fondness for Martin's Violin Concerto. Can anyone compare the Cello Concerto to the Violin Concerto?

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2007, 05:47:28 PM »
I have a fondness for Martin's Violin Concerto. Can anyone compare the Cello Concerto to the Violin Concerto?

If you like the Violin Concerto then you should like the Cello Concerto too! It must rank as one of the finest cello concerti of the 20th century yet is far too little known. I would suggest the recent Dutch Etcetera label performance with Quirine Viersen(although there are alternatives from Jean Decross-a live performance from 1970 on Doron-and Stephen Kates on First Edition Music with the Louisville Orchestra-which is the version I possess).

Perhaps the Cello Concerto might not be quite the equal of the Violin Concerto in profoundity of expression but it is certainly not far behind and has a particularly fine Adagietto slow movement. It was written when the composer was 75 but is no quiet ruminative reflection but is a vigorous and quite passionate work. The cello is particularly well-integrated wit the orchestra which includes roles for piano, harp and celesta.

Hope that you like it!

Offline MishaK

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2007, 06:25:48 PM »
I just listened to Les quatre éléments with Haitink conducting the RCO in a live radio broadcast from 1965. Excellent. Martin certainly has his own style and language.

Offline Guido

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2007, 01:45:45 AM »
Agree with everything Dundonnell said. The first movement has a quasi religious tone I've always thouhgt, but no such marking is indicated in the score. Faint ecoes of gospel singing, or something. I'm not sure.

I am yet to hear the violin concerto, but its one my 'to buy' list.
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Frank Martin
« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2007, 03:23:05 AM »
Agree with everything Dundonnell said. The first movement has a quasi religious tone I've always thouhgt, but no such marking is indicated in the score. Faint ecoes of gospel singing, or something. I'm not sure.

I am yet to hear the violin concerto, but its one my 'to buy' list.

There is/was a good double Decca album with the Violin Concerto, In Terra Pax (Ansermet) etc.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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