In advance of Liszt’s 200th birthday, Musical Concepts is proud to present a collection of sacred music by the composer, Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross) and Missa Choralis (the Choral Mass). The BBC Northern Singers are superb on this disc, giving the works the sensitive treatment they demand, and Francis Jackson masters the organ.
Franz Liszt’s Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross) is one of his most daring compositions, written in the last decade of his life. Literally translating to “The Way of the Cross,” Via Crucis tells of the last hours of the life of Jesus through fourteen “stations” or moments culminating in His crucifixion and burial. Though maintaining a reverential and sacred mood throughout, Liszt’s harmonies are unsettled and experimental, eschewing the flashy passages of his youth for austere meditation. Gramophone magazine described this recording in powerful terms in its initial release: “Via Crucis is one of Liszt's most extraordinary compositions, laconic, inward, searching and uncompromising. It makes its gestures succinctly, never developing anything, moving forward swiftly yet with a sense of complete timelessness. Some of the harmony is far ahead of anything achieved even by Wagner.”