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Franz Liszt was 67 when he composed his Via Crucis, yet it did not receive its first performance until 1929, 43 years after the composer’s death. This work of his mature years is in 15 sections, retracing the Stations of the Cross that mark the stages of Christ’s Passion, from being condemned to death to being laid in the tomb. Combining Gregorian chant, the Lutheran liturgy and the Latin, German and Aramaic languages, the Via Crucis shows real formal originality. A devout believer, Liszt gives us here his most important sacred work. He composed several versions: for mixed choir, soloists and organ (with the organ part optionally transcribed for piano), for piano solo, organ solo, and two pianos.
After a CD devoted to Janacek, the Collegium Vocale founded by Philippe Herreweghe is once again conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw in this new Alpha recording.