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CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Mostly Mozart
see end of review for track listing
Mojca Erdmann (soprano)
La Cetra/Andrea Marcon
rec. Riehen, Landgasthof, Festsaal, June 2010
Sung texts with French, English and German translations enclosed
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 8979 [70:32]

Experience Classicsonline

Born in Hamburg, Mojca Erdmann began taking violin lessons at the age of six while also singing in a children’s choir. Her vocal studies started when she was 14 and among her teachers the famous bass Hans Sotin can be mentioned. She appears in many of the important opera houses and is due to make her Metropolitan debut this autumn (2011) as Zerlina in Don Giovanni. Her singing of the peasant girl’s two arias on this disc makes me eager to hear her in the role. She is no newcomer, though she is still young, and took part in Naxos’s recording of Kálmán’s operetta The Gypsy Princess as early as 2002. Her choice of repertoire for the present disc is bold. Most singers of her kind would probably have opted for an all-Mozart programme but instead she mixes well-known and not so well-known Mozart with un-hackneyed arias by some more or less contemporaneous composers.
She has a pure, bright voice with warm timbre, her top notes are fearless and secure and she has a rich fund of vocal shadings and nuances. She seems cut out for a luminous career. It is a lyrical voice but in the dramatic opening aria, from Zaide, she has impressive power in reserve and delivers a tremendous top note. Ruhe sanft, the better known aria from the same opera, shows her as a sensitive, angel-voiced girl. Her Zerlina is obviously not to be trifled with and both Susanna and Pamina are lovely creatures. All these arias have been recorded innumerable times but Mojca Erdmann can old her own against even the most legendary names in the catalogue.
Everyone who saw the film Amadeus knows about the rivalry between Antonio Salieri and Mozart and there were rumours that the older composer may have been the reason for Mozart’s premature death. Such speculations apart he was an outstanding composer in his own right and though his operas are rarely performed today he was highly regarded during his lifetime and the two arias from Les Danaïdes are ample proof of his talent. Among other things he also wrote a Falstaff opera a century before Verdi. It was once available in a good recording from Hungaroton (HCD 12789-91) but is at present out of stock. Worth searching out for those who listen to Mojca Erdmann’s splendid singing here and want to hear more from this composer.
Another successful composer from the same period was Giovanni Paisiello, best known for Il barbiere di Siviglia, composed almost 35 years before Rossini’s opera. But Nina, premiered in 1789was also popular and has been revived occasionally. There is even a complete recording under Bonynge on Nuova Era (6872/73). The aria recorded here begins almost exactly as Ruhe sanft from Zaide, whether by coincidence or design is hard to know. It is lovely music.
Johann Christian Bach, or ‘London-Bach’ as he has often been called was an early influence on Mozart. He is best known for his orchestral music but he wrote a lot of operas and other vocal music and Amadis de Gaule, his last opera, premiered in Paris in 1779, even has its own entry on Wikipedia. There’s a complete recording under Helmut Rilling on Hänssler. The elegiac aria recorded here shows that his vocal music is well worth rescuing from oblivion.
And so is that of Ignaz Holzbauer, born as early as 1711. Anyone familiar with him? Well, Mozart was. He and his sister even attended a performance of Günther von Schwarzburg, which was a kind of early German national opera. Mozart thought well of the composer in a letter. The two arias here, sung by Pfalzgräfin Anna, are surprisingly modern. The first (tr. 11) opens with a long and expressive recitativo accompagnato followed by a really beautiful aria, expertly scored. The concluding aria should be a hit on any recital programme. Günther von Schwarzburg is also available in a complete recording on CPO.
La Cetra, the baroque orchestra from Basel, are truly accomplished and the recording is excellent. For the lovely singing and for the many glimpses of today unfairly forgotten music this disc is doubly welcome. A treasure trove from more than one point of view.
Göran Forsling 

Track listing
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791)
1. Tiger! Wetze nur die Klauen [4:47]
Antonio SALIERI (1750 - 1825)
Les Danaïdes
2. Par les larmes dont votre fille [2:37]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
3. Quando avran fine omai [4:05]
4. Padre, germani, addio! [3:58]
5. Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben [6:35]
Don Giovanni
6. Ma se colpa [0:48]
7. Batti, batti, bel Masetto [3:46]
Giovanni PAISIELLO (1740 - 1816)
Nina, o sia La pazza per amore
8. Il mio ben quando verrà [7:06]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Le nozze di Figaro
9. Giunse alfin il momento [1:22]
10. Deh vieni, non tardar [3:19]
Ignaz HOLZBAUER (1711 - 1783)
Günther von Schwarzburg
11. Es ist geschrieben [3:55]
12. Ihr Rosenstunden [2:45]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Don Giovanni
13. Vedrai, carino, se sei buonino [3:24]
Johann Christian BACH (1735 - 1782)
Amadis de Gaule
14. À qui pourrai-je avoir recours? [4:52]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Die Zauberflöte
15. Ach, ich fühl’s, es ist verschwunden! [4:27]
Les Danaïdes
16. Père barbare, arrache-moi la vie! [1:36]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
17. Se il padre perdei [6:25]
Günther von Schwarzburg
18. Die Klüfte sausen! [4:44]




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