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Philip Greenfield
American Record Guide, September 2018

Martinu proves a felicitous disc-mate for Martin in his Songs of Mary and in the Romance—a sad but rhythmic commentary on love and loss, Czech style. We heard both works on the Martinu Cantatas program (M/J 2017), a delightful release that turned out to one of the Year’s Best. If you went for that one, you can probably play a pat hand here. But the Danes also give us classy accounts of each. The soloists add lovely things when the composer assigns them their moments, but it’s soprano Klaudia Kidon who really brings some romance to the Romance.

The choir is one of the very best around. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

William Hedley
MusicWeb International, August 2018

One of the many strengths of this magnificent performance is that Marcus Creed’s tempo choices are judicious—though one means by this, inevitably, that they are what this particular listener wants to hear. Another strength, however, is that he is scrupulous about following the composer’s indications. So, when Martin marks in the score that a given passage should go “a little faster”’ or “with more insistence” Creed takes note and respects the marking. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Vernier, July 2018

The singing is exceptional—this choir, as we’ve heard on earlier recordings, is one of the world’s finest, and here the singers are constantly challenged with prickly technical details and are offered many chances—perfectly realized—to deliver those ringing, resonant harmonic gestures that all choral singers live for. Their Czech pronunciation/enunciation is, how shall we say it, rather “soft”—the delicious richness of those special consonants tends to be rounded off. © 2018 Read complete review

Henry Fogel
Fanfare, July 2018

Throughout the disc the performances are exemplary. The Danish National Vocal Ensemble’s intonation, diction, and blend are consistently at a high level, and the performers manage to convey both the beauty and the drama in the music. Recorded sound is rich and reverberant without becoming muddy. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

Colin Clarke
Fanfare, July 2018

The Songs of Ariel of 1950 is Frank Martin’s only other choral work, apart from the Mass, for a cappella chorus, but they are of course related to his opera based on The Tempest, Der Sturm (1955). Alto Hanna-Maria Strand creates an intense, imposing atmosphere in her solo for “You are three men of sin,” but it is the sheer joy of the end of the final song, “Where the bee sucks, there suck I,” that is remarkable. © 2018 Fanfare  Read complete review

David DeBoor Canfield
Fanfare, July 2018

The splendid choral artistry of Creed (who lives up to his name by including a Credo in the collection) and his Danish singers by itself would be worth the price of admission here, but given the heart-wrenchingly beautiful music, this disc become a must-own for anyone fond of the medium of a cappella chorus. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

James A. Altena
Fanfare, July 2018

Marcus Creed has long been a byword for excellence in choral conducting, primarily through his longstanding directorship of the RIAS Chamber Choir. He fully lives up to that standard here. The Danish National Vocal Ensemble, here 18 members strong, is a crackerjack group on every count one can name—intonation, tonal blend, diction, rhythm, dynamics, and so on. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

Ivan Moody
Gramophone, June 2018

Martin’s wonderful Songs of Ariel are given a virtuoso rendition that brings out every nuance and are alone worth the price of the disc. But the addition of the choral works by Martinu creates a wholly unusual and effective balance in the programming. The Four Songs of the Virgin Mary are works of tremendous subtlety, and beautifully sung… © 2018 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, May 2018

While the Mass for Double Choir is the most substantial piece and the highlight of the programme, the other works are all worthy in their own right. The disc is well balanced between the sacred and the secular. Following Martin’s mass are Martinů’s Four Songs of the Virgin Mary, simpler and folk-like, the first of ten collections of choral songs by the composer. The titles do not belie their contents: The AnnunciationA Dream, the rather humourous Our Lady’s Breakfast, and The Virgin Mary’s Picture. The choir master the Czech tongue, a particularly difficult language for non-native speakers, and perform these songs with excellent pronunciation and dedication. These attractive songs reminded me, both harmonically and rhythmically, of Janáček’s unaccompanied choral pieces. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Uwe Krusch
Pizzicato, May 2018

Choral works by Martin and Martinu are not really connected, but nevertheless they go very well together because of the personal music language of both composers. The excellent Danish National Vocal Ensemble under its director Marcus Creed illuminates the four works with a sensitive and committed singing. © 2018 Pizzicato

Records International, April 2018

Offered for the fairly rare Martinů works, the four songs as simple and unassuming as the folk texts he set in 1934, and another of his late cantatas from the late 1950s which also uses folk sources but for depicting a tale of tragic love. Equally rare is the Swiss composer’s setting of five songs from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, a preliminary to his 1955 opera on the same subject. These are in English and date from 1950. Czech-English texts. © 2018 Records International

Barry Brenesal
Classical CD Choice, March 2018

The works on this highly unusual disc—Frank Martin: Mass for two Four-part Choirs; Bohuslav Martinů: Four Songs of the Virgin Mary; Frank Martin: Songs of Ariel; Bohuslav Martinů: Romance from the Dandelions—are granted the best possible advocacy, offering a reminder that 20th-century music of this ilk can be quite as immediately appealing as that of earlier eras. The pieces here by Frank Martin are perhaps more forbidding, but are given readings of such strength that there is an instant communication with the adventurous listener. The Grammy-Nominated, ECHO Award-winning Danish National Vocal Ensemble under the direction of Marcus Creed have a particular affinity for the music of Martinů with its traces of impressionism and Stravinskian neoclassicism along with the love of folklore he shared with his countryman, Leoš Janáček. © 2018 Classical CD Choice

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