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Sacred works for soprano and orchestra
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Exsultate, Jubilate, Motet for soprano and orchestra, K.165 (1773)
Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736)

Salve Regina, Motet for soprano, strings and basso continuo (1736)
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Ergo Interest - Quaere Superna, Recitative and aria for soprano, strings and organ, K.143 (1770)
Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782)

Salve Regina in E flat major, Motet for soprano and orchestra (1758)
Ruth Ziesak (soprano)
La Stagione/Michael Schneider
Recorded 13-15 August 1994 (tracks 1-10); 23-25 June 1995 (tracks 11-18). Grosser Saal Musikhochschule Frankfurt/ M. DDD
DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI DHM 74321 935522 [57:27]


Deutsche Harmonia Mundi have released a fine selection of motets that all feature the soprano voice. The recording consists of material previously released from 1996. It is good to have these fine performances return to the catalogue.

Mozart’s Motet Exsultate, Jubilate was originally written in Milan in 1773 for the castrato Venanzio Rauzzini but is now frequently used as a showpiece work for the soprano voice. The motet is considered to be an excellent example of sacred music that is Baroque in structure and mood. Ruth Ziesak’s melting soprano voice sounds impressive throughout this exultant music especially in the brilliant concluding section which is spun elaborately around the single word Alleluia.

The Recitative and Aria Ergo Interest is a short work lasting less than five minutes that Mozart wrote in Italy in 1770. An occasional piece set in the Italian operatic style Ruth Ziesak excels in the demands of the score and sings with a deeply felt expressivity.

Pergolesi wrote five Salve Reginas in praise of the Virgin Mary. The greatest is this fifth and last in C minor from 1736. This profoundly affecting work is in six contrasting slow and quicker sections that all carry an intensely sacred conviction. Soprano Ruth Ziesak gives a warm and moving interpretation of passionate intensity.

The Motet Salve Regina by J.C. Bach exhibits contrasting solo and tutti sections. Ruth soloist Ziesak gives a most satisfying interpretation and she is especially excellent in the passages of extraordinarily demanding runs.

German soprano Ruth Ziesak, who was ‘discovered’ by the late Maestro Georg Solti at the Salzburg Festival in 1991 when singing Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, goes from strength to strength with high calibre performances that are both eloquent and beguiling. One cannot fail to be impressed by the spirited and persuasive playing from Frankfurt based authentic instrument orchestra La Stagione under the direction of Michael Schneider.

A gratifying reissue of rewarding works from DHM.

Michael Cookson

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