Poulenc - Messe en sol majeur
Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge
The tempo is a little more deliberate than my custom, but the clarity and expression in this recording are stunning. There is nothing in the literature quite like the hosanna at the end of this movement.
This is a profound and unusual work by a profound and unusual man. It is structured in five movements, but the Credo is missing for reasons the composer never made clear. Nevertheless, the premiere took place on a Sunday morning in Lyons, as the music was originally intended for liturgical use. Poulenc dedicated the Mass to the memory of his father, at a time when he—one of the most Dionysian of composers, and openly gay—publicly reclaimed the Catholic faith he had abandoned for decades.
(Mount Rainier; photo by fresnatic)