from Eloquence. The only criticism here
is the meagre playing time but I suppose
that for £3.75, we cannot complain too
loudly. This disc appears to be a straight
re-issue of L’Oiseau Lyre 411 833-2,
and it is very good indeed.
The repertoire is all
early Mozart, written in the early 1770s
for soprano voice accompanied by choir
(in two items) and orchestra. The orchestra
is the well known Academy of Ancient
Music, one of the UK’s better period
bands. They have been coached to play
in a very acceptable manner, i.e. not
too many squeaks and pops. The choirs,
particularly the boys of Westminster
Cathedral, sound a little out of context
in their two pieces but do not spoil
the works at all.
The best known piece
on the disc is Exultate jubilate
KV 165, first performed in Salzburg.
The text of the first aria and subsequent
recitative are adapted for a specific
liturgical occasion, the feast of the
Holy Trinity. Flutes are substituted
for oboes in this version.
Emma Kirkby has the
ability to make this repertoire seem
effortless, and she is ably supported
by Hogwood and the Academy. In addition,
the L’Oiseau Lyre recording has been
There are two different
settings of Regina coeli, each
employing choral forces to supplement
the orchestra. The first is a full-dress,
ceremonial piece in the regal key of
C major. The first of four movements
uses the full forces of Mozart’s day
– pairs of horns, oboes and trumpets
and timpani, as well as strings and
organ continuo. Notable towards the
end of this first movement are the rauschenden
Violinen (rushing violins), well
known to the ecclesiastical composers
of the 18th century.
The second movement
is a haunting tempo moderato and
the vocal contribution is assigned to
the soprano, which Emma Kirkby sings
exquisitely. The finale, Allelujah
is like a miniature symphony finale
with added vocal and choral lines. By
the time we reach the end we are left
in no two minds about the overall atmosphere
The second setting
(KV 127), is less celebratory than the
first, but both longer and more elaborate.
There are moments of great beauty, before
the piece comes to a rousing conclusion
for soloist, choir and orchestra.
Finally, we have Ergo
interest, which is fairly short,
and is in the form of a recitative and
aria. This is an example of the similarity
of Mozart’s writing for both operatic
and church music.
This is a superb issue,
and deserves wide circulation I can
recommend it highly.