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This recording offers three of Messiaen’s best-known choral works: O sacrum convivium! (1937), Trois petites liturgies de la Présence Divine (1943) and Cinq rechants (1948). The last of these, with its mixture of languages (French and a Sanskrit-like language devised by Messiaen himself), was composed for 12 solo voices and presents many challenges to its performers: sound, rhythm and technique are all extended by the composer’s demands, which include modifying vowel sounds to produce percussive effects. The Danish National Vocal Ensemble delivers a committed reading of this difficult work. No less committed are their colleagues of the Danish National Concert Choir and Chamber Orchestra who join them in the other substantial piece on the CD, the Trois petites liturgies, which receives a persuasive account. Marcus Creed presides over these idiomatic performances with authority.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica


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