Eivind Gullberg Jensen / Mari Eriksmoen / Trondheim Symphony Choir / Trondheim Symphony Orchestra / Johannes Weisser

Ståle Kleiberg: Mass for Modern Man

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Norwegian composer Ståle Kleiberg's mass setting, for two soloists, choir, and chamber orchestra, fits into a long tradition of settings with interpolated texts, which, after all, is not an idea that the Renaissance mind would have found strange. This recording garnered a U.S. Grammy nomination for Best Engineering, and to get this out of the way first, yes, the crack engineering team of the 2L label has outdone itself here, working in the Olavshallen in Trondheim. The Trondheim Symphony Orchestra and Choir likewise sound great, with the texts, both traditional and interpolated, cleanly rendered and audible. The work is an ambitious one, with poetry (in English) by British writer Jessica Gordon interrogating the mass with tales of a child's death, general doubt, and, to make it of the moment, refugees. These are given to the soloists and set off against choral settings of the usual mass text. The idea is a good one, but there is little in Kleiberg's rather plain, late-late-Romantic counterpoint that brings it to life; the solos are made of the same stuff as the Latin mass text. This is surely recommended for audiophiles, however, and it comes with a Blu-ray disc showing the Trondheimers in action.

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