Number of Discs: 1
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: EMI Classics
Size: 224 MB
01. Vesperae de Domenica K321: Dixit Dominus
02. Vesperae de Domenica K321: Confitebor
03. Vesperae de Domenica K321: Beatus vir
04. Vesperae de Domenica K321: Laudate pueri
05. Vesperae de Domenica K321: Laudate Dominum
06. Vesperae de Domenica K321: Magnificat
07. Vesperae solennes de confessore K339: Dixit Dominus
08. Vesperae solennes de confessore K339: Confitebor
09. Vesperae solennes de confessore K339: Beatus vir
10. Vesperae solennes de confessore K339: Laudate pueri
11. Vesperae solennes de confessore K339: Laudate Dominum
12. Vesperae solennes de confessore K339: Magnificat
13. Ave verum corpus, K.618
Elegant performances of Mozart’s Vespers plus…
Mozart composed the two Vesper Services (‘Vesperae de Dominica’ K321 and ‘Vesperae solennes de confessore’K339) in 1779 and 1780 for performances in the Salzburg cathedral and so it is very fitting that this lovely recording is performed in the cathedral-like setting of the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge. These works were written as occasional pieces and have never reached the popularity of Mozart’s Masses or Requiem but they have unusually beautiful passages.
Some listeners may quibble with the treble parts of the chorus being sung by young boys but it was just such an arrangement that was used in Mozart’s time and, for this listener, maintains the purity of tone that complements these texts and ensemble sounds. The orchestras include the Hilliard Ensemble and the Cambridge Classical Players so the full spectrum of ancient instruments reinforced with contemporary forms adds richness yet serves an authentic sound. The soloists are excellent with special attention to Lynne Dawson, the sole female voice here. Her soprano is clear and pliant and very adept in recreating the ‘Mozart purity of sound’ so many better known singers strive to find. Her rendering of the lovely ‘Laudate Dominum’ in K339 is as unfettered and well embellished as befitting the overall concept of this work.
Can there ever be enough recordings of one of Mozart’s ‘Ave verum corpus’? One of the single most touching and beautiful works Mozart ever composed, it is here given that wonderful straight-forward performance that allows the work to make us remember that it was one of the composer’s farewell compositions (created six months before his death in 1791).
The acoustics of the Chapel where this recording was created in 1987 reflect the high-ceiling mix so treasured by purists. It may not be the clearest of sounds but the ambience it lends these small works is complementary. Conductor Stephen Cleobury has rehearsed and performed these works to perfection. Grady Harp