Toccata Classics continues its exploration of the music of the Hungarian composer Ferenc Farkas (1905–2000) with this selection from his huge output of choral music, ranging in mood from the folklike simplicity of the Missa Secunda in honorem Sanctae Margaritae and his bright carol settings via the asperity of some late a cappella pieces to the fresh and buoyant Christmas Cantata. This recording is also the first by the new London-based chamber choir Ascolta.
Ascolta; Ascolta Chamber Ensemble; Peter Broadbent, conductor;
Catalogue No: TOCC0296EAN/UPC: 5060113442963Release Date: 04.09.2015Composer: Ferenc Farkas Artists: Ascolta, Ascolta Chamber Ensemble, Peter Broadbent
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Jonathan Woolf :
“The Missa Secunda in honorem Sanctae Margaritae was composed in 1964 but subject to a series of revisions, the most important being the inclusion of the Sanctus and Benedictus. … Farkas has the gift of knowing precisely when to simplify and when to amplify the texts. Since the passages concern the days after Christ’s crucifixion when Cleopas relates the story of the discovery of his tomb, it requires sensitive word setting. The amplitude and breadth of the music is especially distinctive. The other large-scale work is the Christmas Cantata of 1970, set for narrator, mixed choir, organ and an instrumental ensemble. … Elements here must reflect an earlier interest in folkloric music as there are some rustic cadences as well as passages that sound as if they could derive from a musical… this is an engaging, light-hearted work. … László Gombos, who knew Farkas, contributes a splendid booklet note, to which I’m indebted for detail. This is the first recording from a new group, Ascolta, which has young professional singers and post-graduate students in its ranks. … Peter Broadbent, no stranger to Hungarian music, directs them with imagination and control. Those who have followed the Farkas trail thus far will want to expand their horizons with this disc.” –Music Web International, December 2015
Philip Greenfield :
“Ferenc Farkas (1905–2000) was a beloved professor at the Budapest Academy of Music and a composer whose music had eluded me up to now. I am glad to make his acquaintance because he wrote classy, charming fare that doesn’t have to work overtime to make its points. Several of these works are accorded their first-ever recordings by Maestro Broadbent’s Ascolta Ensembles, and we are the better for their efforts. Farkas’s 12-minute Mass is an affectionate, straightforward take on the liturgy. (I’d love to sing it someday.) The carols and ‘Ave Maris Stella’ are the true charmers of the set. … This release is part of Toccata’s Discovery Club—a set of recordings devoted to exploring music ignored by the microphone until now. The label has done us a mitzvah here, and I think you’ll appreciate it.” —American Record Guide, January 2016
Gerald Fenech :
“This very stimulating selection from Farkas’ immense output of choral music covers works written over a period of just over fifty years … His renaissance at the end of the twentieth century, and the last two decades in particular, was one of pleasing harmonies and an unusual sensuous sound, as opposed to a former language of discord and alienation. This is off-the-beaten-track music which deserves to be explored and enjoyed, and performances have a solemn dignity that draws the listener into an aura of inner solace, despite some thickly written passages that demand maximum concentration. This is an enterprising issue, superbly recorded and annotated, that should prove invaluable to the knowledge and appreciation of thecomposer’s music.” —Music and Vision, March 2016
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