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Cat. No. CHAN 0786 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 0786 - Mozart: 'Coronation Mass'/Ave Verum Corpus/Exsultate, Jubilate
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Available From: 15 February 2012
Mozart: 'Coronation Mass'/Ave Verum Corpus/Exsultate, Jubilate

On this album, the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge performs alongside four soloists and the period instrument ensemble St John’s Sinfonia. The tenor Sam Furness and bass George Humphreys both started their careers as Choral Scholars with this very choir. The mezzo-soprano Frances Bourne is in great demand on the concert platform and has sung with many of Europe’s leading conductors; the soprano Susan Gritton has amassed a vast discography that has earned her two Grammy nominations and includes, for Chandos, recordings of works by Haydn, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Vaughan Williams.

Mozart wrote the ‘Coronation’ Mass just two weeks into his appointment as Court Organist for the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. As it was first performed as part of the Easter liturgy of Salzburg Cathedral, perhaps ‘Paschal’ Mass would have been a more suitable title. However, the work achieved great renown after its performance at the Imperial Coronation in Prague, which took place nine months after Mozart’s death, and the name stuck. The opulence of the Gloria, in particular, is unmistakable, and the alternations between soloists and choir add drama to the text, which Mozart scored with operatic clarity. Here the choir forcefully praises and glorifies, while the soloists more intimately bless and worship.
Also on this disc is Susan Gritton’s first-ever recorded performance of Mozart’s dramatic solo cantata Exsultate jubilate, and a motet for the Feast of Corpus Christi, Ave verum corpus. Mozart’s Church Sonatas, which number seventeen in all,span a period of ten years; because of their beauty and simplicity they achieved a much wider use, beyond the church and into the concert hall.

The Missa brevis, KV 192 highlights Mozart’s ability to write music for the church that was not significantly different in style to the music of the court or the opera house. This mass is known as the ‘Little Credo Mass’ because of the repeated interjections of the short ‘Credo’ theme throughout – a five-note motif which Mozart many years later would use as the main theme of the last movement of his final symphony.
 

Reviews

“...The performances are all agreeably light in texture and crisp in rhythm ... The choral work is very good ...”
Paul L Althouse – American Record Guide – July/August 2012

“The vibrant colours of St John’s Sinfonia, a London-based period-instrument ensemble, punctuate lively singing from the men and boys of the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, under the baton of Andrew Nethsingha in sacred works of Mozart... Chorus and soloists bring clarity and lightness to the composer’s earlier Missa Brevis, KV 192... and the small string component sounds nimble, especially in the thorny phrases of the Agnus Dei. Nethsingha highlights the harmonic shifts of the Sanctus, and each choral section brings special energy to the falling phrases of the Hosanna sections... Rounding out the disc, Moxart’s ever popular Ave Verum Corpus receives a stately, sonorous reading...”

Judith Malafronte – Opera News – July 2012

"...this is a very fine recording ..."
Brian Clark - Early Music Review - June 2012

"...Susan Gritton sings the Exsultate, jubilate with real commitment and panache and the recently formed St John’s Sinfonia play with real spirit. There is indeed much to enjoy on this disc..."

John Sheppard - Musicweb-international.com - 12 May 2012

                    ****   Excellent
Marco Bizzanini – Musica magazine – May 2012 

Performance ****     Recording *****
“...Violinists Margaret Faultless and Simon Jones prove lively exponents of the two sonatas, with three-part continuo providing neat support. The vocal soloists, including soprano Susan Gritton... skilfully match the direct intelligently shaped singing of the choir ... the sound throughout is solid, given a patina of warmth by the ideal acoustic resonance.”
George Hall – BBC Music magazine – Awards Issue - 2012


 

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