Swedish composer Sven-David Sandström has written in a wide variety of forms, but he is best known for his religious choral music. This disc, featuring the choir Allmänna Sången led by Cecilia Rydinger Alin, includes two of his many mass settings and two short pieces, an a cappella setting of the hymn, Ave Maris Stella, and a Procession for brass quintet. Sandström's Freedom Mass uses fragments of the Latin Mass, and its movements are governed by the tone of those texts, but the bulk of the text comes from the poetry of Tomas Tranströmer. The choral writing is anchored in tonality, and uses a lush harmonic vocabulary. The harmonic movement is unconventional and frequently so unpredictable that the music sounds new and creatively imagined. Scored for chorus, soprano soloist, clarinet solo, and brass quintet and organ, the timbral variety alone makes Sandström's setting stand out from other contemporary masses that use similar post-Romantic harmonies. Each movement captures the spirit of the text, but in original, unexpected ways, and it sometimes takes a moment for the aptness of his choices to sink in. This is not a mass that could be used liturgically, but it's an attractive addition to the repertoire for choirs capable of handling challenging new music. Ordinary Mass and Psalm, on the other hand, is intended for use in worship, and includes parts for congregational singing, so of necessity it's a much simpler and more melodic, and the Psalm has the quality of a folk song. Allmänna Sången sings with confidence and warm tone, and soprano Jeanette Bjurling and clarinetist Jonas Viklund bring an ethereal purity to their parts. Caprice's sound is full and present.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|Ordinary Mass and Psalm|