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Kodaly: Missa Brevis
01 Sep 1999
Originally recorded in 1998
Michael W. Hansen
Niels Henrik Nielsen
Helle Charlotte Pedersen
Danish National Symphony Choir
Danish Radio Concert Hall, Copenhagen
Orchestral & Concertos
Total Time - 53:27
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Ote, missa est
Jézus és kufárok
Jesus and the traders
'A Vidrócki híres nyája' -
The famous herd of Vidróczki
'Sej, a tari réten' -
In the meadow at Tar
'Két tyñkom tavalyi'
Two hens, last year's
Stefan Parkman conducts the Danish National Radio Choir in this wonderful addition to Chandos’ Kodály discography.
The works encompass a third of a century and display Kodály’s mastery of the art of choral composition. Convinced of the importance of group singin, he was unique in his concentration on choral music, which make up the greater part of his later output.
In 1905 Kodály embarked on the first of many folksong-collecting tours throughout Hungary, often in co-operation with his contemporary and compatriot Béla Bartók. While the melodic and rhythmic features of the music he recorded became a central, distinguishing mark of his original works he also produced a number of pieces based on folksongs.
Mátrai Képek (Mátra Pictures), composed in 1931, employs five folk songs from the mountainous Mátra district of Hungary, which Kodály orders so as to provide a narrative thread throughout. It is dramatic and colourful choral writing, and within the variation from inherent in such settings of folk melodies. Kodály injects enormous emotional contrasts. Jézus é a kufárok (Jesus and the Traders) sets texts from the gospels of John, Mark and Luke. Here, Kodály provides a vivid musical portrayal of the various texts. In some places the harmony is dictated by polyphonic movement; in others he employs astringent dissonances for expressive purpose.
In 1944 whilest in hiding from occupying German forces, Kodály adapted his Mass for solo organ (1942) into the Missa brevis for choir and organ. There is a close partnership between choir and organ throughout the whole piece, with the organ often doubling the choral parts. In the Kyrie, the music ranges from dark and brooding to ethereal; the Gloria ranges from Jubilant and forceful choral writing to a passage for soloists of almost baroque pathos while the Credo displays characteristics of both Gregorian chant and Hungarian folksong.
Kodály composed Este (Evening) in 1904, shortly after gaining his composition diploma. It was his first published work. He combines his characteristic blend of impressionistic non-functional harmony with dazzling choral effects.
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