There are two significant composer birthdays this month: Arnold Schoenberg (September 13) and Frank Martin (September 15th). Gloriae Dei Cantores recorded Schoenberg’s De Profundis on their CD, By the Rivers of Babylon in 1998 and no less a distinguished figure of 20th century music, Milton Babbitt (1916-2011), called their performance the finest he had ever heard. It was the last completed composition of Schoenberg and was written in the midst of his declaration that he would only write sacred music for the rest of his life. Using sprechstimme and twelve-tone technique, Schoenberg created an extraordinary and deeply moving work.
Another masterpiece of the 20th century that came from the pen of Frank Martin (1890-1974), Swiss composer, is the Mass for Double Choir. Having been laid in a drawer for almost forty years, Martin felt it was too personal a statement for public hearing. Finally in 1963, Martin had it published, and since then it has become not only an acknowledged masterpiece, but one of the most performed masses in the realm of contemporary music. Gloriae Dei Cantores recorded the work on its CD entitled “Mandorla” along with works by Grieg and Hanson. The choir considers it one of their favorite masses to sing in both worship and concert.