Albert Becker (1834-1899) was a contemporary of Verdi, Bruckner and Brahms and although he earned his livelihood mainly as a music teacher, he always found the time to do some composing of his own, this confirms that Becker could elaborate baroque musical elements with those pertaining to the classical and romantic eras.
His pieces draw on a multi-faceted and diverse inventive talent married with the natural ability for a distinct musical expression in form and harmony. In his mighty eight-part psalm settings for double choir, Becker shifts between the different epochs and styles with consummate facility and the pieces on this disc fully testify to his supreme skill and mastery in integrating text with music.
The Op. 62 "Aus der Tiefe" (Psalm 130) is undoubtedly his finest example of the grandeur with which these works are bedecked, and the many layers of sound are certainly cause for admiration. The Liturgical Songs are shorter and less duplicated pieces, and in them Becker utilizes baroque techniques and the model of the chorale structure.
Founded in 1961 as a direct consequence of the erection of the Berlin Wall, the Berliner Domkantorei are still regaling audiences with their impassioned singing. Despite their amateur status, they have practically all the standard works in their repertoire, and these include a wide spectrum from Bach to Stravinsky. Here they perform with heartwarming subtlety and vitality with the intensity of the singing never allowed to waver. This is an enjoyable discovery which should help Becker's cause to no small degree.
Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech