Kodály: Choral Works; Bartók: Cantata Profana
István Kertész
Catalogue No.

Zoltán Kodály and Béla Bartók were Hungary’s two most important composers in the 20th century. They were both friends and colleagues, working separately and together to document and preserve folk music from Hungary and its surrounding regions. The music they collected strongly influenced their own compositions. Decca was one of the first major record companies to invest in recordings of the choral music of Kodály. Perhaps spurred by the success of István Kertész’s recording of ‘Psalmus Hungaricus’, they continued to record a number of the composer’s choral works under the direction of László Heltay. All of these recordings are collected over a double-CD, coupled with Bartók’s ‘Cantata Profana’, one of Sir Georg Solti’s last recordings, for which he provides very moving commentary in the booklet.


Psalmus Hungaricus, Op. 13
Lajos Kozma, tenor
Wandsworth School Boys’ Choir
Brighton Festival Chorus

London Symphony Orchestra
István Kertész

Missa Brevis
Pange Lingua
Psalm 114, from the Geneva Psalter

Elizabeth Gale, Sally le Sage, Hannah Francis, sopranos
Alfreda Hodgson, contralto
Ian Caley, tenor
Michael Rippon, bass
Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, organ
Gillian Weir, organ
Brighton Festival Chorus
László Heltay

Hymn of Zrinyi

Benjamin Luxon
, baritone
Brighton Festival Chorus
László Heltay

Laudes Organi – Fantasia on a 12th century sequence

Gillian Weir, organ
Brighton Festival Chorus
László Heltay

Cantata Profana, BB. 100 (Sz. 94)

Tamas Daroczy, tenor
Alexandru Agache, baritone
Choir of Hungarian Radio & TV
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Georg Solti

Recording information

Recording Producers: Christopher Raeburn (Psalmus Hungaricus); Richard Beswick (Missa Brevis, Pange Lingua); James Mallinson (Psalm 114, Hymn of Zrinyi, Laudes Organi); Christopher Hazell (Cantata Profana)
Balance Engineers: Colin Moorfoot, Kenneth Wilkinson (Psalmus Hungaricus); Colin Moorfoot, John Dunkerley, Simon Eadon (Missa Brevis, Pange Lingua); Stanley Goodall (Psalm 114, Hymn of Zrinyi, Laudes Organi); James Lock, Krzysztof Jarosz (Cantata Profana)
Recording Locations: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, September 1970 (Psalmus Hungaricus); November 1975 & February-March 1976 (Missa Brevis, Pange Lingua); Guildford Cathedral, UK, November 1977 (Psalm 114, Hymn of Zrinyi, Laudes Organi); Italian Institute, Budapest, Hungary, June 1997 (Cantata Profana)


‘The solo singers are all excellent as are the organist and the chorus’ (Kodály: Missa Brevis) Gramophone

‘an invigorating performance’ (Kodály: Psalmus Hungaricus) Gramophone

‘Heltay has been astonishingly successful in inspiring Benjamin Luxon (in admirable form) and his fresh-toned choir to the fervour and sensitivity they show in this patriotic work’ (Kodály: Hymn of Zrinyi) Gramophone

‘Heltay conducts his chorus in a broad, sweeping performance that is impressive (Kodály: Pange Lingua) Gramophone