The Swiss composer Frank Martin (1890-1974) has a reputation of creating very profound works with a choice of subjects that are, to say the least, extraordinarily unique. This song cycle by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1826) took me completely by surprise and left me wondering how such a gripping piece does not command the importance it deserves.
Although the work took almost two years to complete, one is given the impression that it was composed in a blaze of inspiration, so cogent and well knit is the music with Rilke's moving text. In less than an hour, both writer and composer tell us all we want to know about life, love and death, and if one were to delve deeper into this astounding piece, one will surely discover glimpses of an afterlife.
This is a really fine composition which deserves to be much better known and surely deserves more recordings and performances. For the time being, this excellent offering by the enterprising MD&G label will do nicely as a recommended version captured in superb sound.
Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech