Magazine article Gramophone

Martin: Ein Totentanz Zu Basel Im Jahre 1943

Magazine article Gramophone

Martin: Ein Totentanz Zu Basel Im Jahre 1943

Article excerpt

Martin

Ein Totentanz zu Basel im Jahre 1943 Geoffrey Madge pf Edith Habraken, Christine von Arx, Eduard Grass-Hass Basel drums Sacramentskoor; ARMAB Orchestra; Hineni String Orchestra / Bastiaan Blomhert CPO (F) CP0777 997-2 (66' * DDD * T/t)

'Spectacle danse en plein air' is the genre title given by Grove to this macabre entertainment. In this first, sound-only recording, those listed elements are inevitably absent. Martin's stalwart advocate Paul Sacher gave the first performance in the Miinsterplatz of Basel on May 27, 1943. Around them rode the Nazi horsemen of the apocalypse, harvesting millions like the figure of death on the medieval frescoes from which Martin drew the story, and yet a curious feeling of insulated distance pervades the work, as perhaps it did the Swiss nation.

The Totentanz frescoes across Europe showed a grim processional in which Death came serially to people without regard to age or state of life. Thomas Ades drew on the most famous set, in Lubeck, to fashion a song-cycle (2013) for soprano, baritone and huge orchestra. …

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