In the 1920s Frank Martin, a Swiss Calvinist by upbringing, created a radiant Latin setting of the Mass for double choir, only to return it to the bottom drawer, considering it to be ‘a matter between God and myself’.
It was finally released for performance forty years later, around the same time that the Edinburgh- based composer Kenneth Leighton made his own double-choir setting – a work with moments of striking stillness, delightful to choral singers and yet rarely recorded.
Contrasts and comparisons abound at every point in this fascinating pairing of Masses from the supposedly godless twentieth century, and are brought out to the full by The Choir of King’s College London’s impassioned performances. A short organ postlude by the teenage Jehan Alain, written on retreat in a monastery in 1930, follows like a voluntary concluding the liturgy.
"The choral forces of King’s College, London, are well focused, clean and expressive ... Occasionally one or two of the solo voices show their youth, but the whole is delivered with such conviction, even passion, that this matters not."
"this is a performance of astonishing intensity and musicality. A powerfully moving interpretation of a powerfully moving work."