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Johann Simon MAYR (1763 – 1845)
Motets – 2
Litaniae Lauretanae in A major for soprano, soloists, choir and orchestra (I-BGc 22/1) (c. 1825) [12:18]
Salve Regina in F major for basso concertante, soprano, alto, bass and orchestra (I-BGc 307/1 (c. 1820) [3:55]
Salve Regina in F major for soprano and orchestra (I-BGc 307/2) (c. 1810) [7:19]
O Virgo immaculata for tenor and orchestra (I-Bgc 59/8) (c. 1800) [12:35]
Regina coeli in B flat major for tenor and orchestra (I-BGc 307/8) (c. 1800) [4:22]
Salve Regina in F major for soprano and orchestra (I-BGc 307/5) (c. 1810) [6:54]
Salve Regina in B flat major for tenor and orchestra (I-BGc 307/3) (c. 1830) [5:04]
Laudem volo cantitare in B flat major for bass and orchestra (I-BGc 59/7) (c. 1820) [13:39]
Ave Regina coelorum in E flat major for soloists, choir and orchestra (I-BGc 307/10) (c. 1830) [3:13]
Andrea Lauren Brown (soprano)
Johanna Krödel (alto)
Markus Schäfer (tenor)
Daniel Ochoa (bass)
Simon Mayr Chorus
Concerto de Bassus, Virtuosi Italiani/Franz Hauk
rec. 2014/17, Asamkirche Maria de Victoria, Ingolstadt, Germany
Sung texts and English and German translations may be accessed online.
NAXOS 8.573909 [70:29]

The indefatigable Franz Hauk continues his exploration of Simon Mayr’s enormous output of vocal music. This is the second volume of his motets. The previous volume (review) concentrated on his early essays in this genre, composed mainly in the 1790s. On the present volume we meet the mature master in works spanning the years 1800 – 1830. He was by then established as the leading opera composer in Italy, and it is easy to find influences from that field. His skilful handling of the orchestra with particular focus on the woodwind is one characteristic that regular buyers of Mayr recordings will be familiar with, his rich melodic vein another. The former feature is well illustrated in the Salve Regina I-BGc 307/2 (tr. 3), where the oboe is prominent throughout; the melodic gift is omnipresent but O Virgo immaculata is uncommonly tuneful and also for other reasons stands out. Like the opening, Litaniae Lauretanae it begins darkly and fatefully, there is a dramatic recitative followed by a decidedly operatic aria with quite extensive decorations. Then more recitativo accompagnato, up-tempo this time, and so a cavatina in two parts with a lot of coloratura, and finally an Alleluja. This is a great piece of music and Markus Schäfer is the excellent soloist.

The just mentioned Litaniae is also an interesting composition. Dark colours and a noble melody. Halfway through a fanfare introduces a faster section with contrapuntal writing, but the work ends as it begins, slowly and contemplatively. This is the grandest of the motets here with full chorus and a group of soloists which functions as a unit as well as individual voices. In Salve Regina I-BGc 307/1 as well as the concluding Ave Regina the chorus is reduced to four choir soloists. Andrea Lauren Brown and Markus Schäfer have been featured soloists on several previous recordings in this series and they are very good. Ms Brown impresses with her coloratura singing in the third Salve Regina (tr. 6) and Schäfer is a pillar of strength in Regina coeli (tr. 5) and the fourth Salve Regina (tr. 7), the former jubilant and quite elaborated. The third soloist was new to me, German baritone Daniel Ochoa, a former student of Thomas Quasthoff. His dramatic singing in the first Salve Regina (tr. 2) is excellent, and exposed in full-length portrait in Laudem volo cantitare (tr. 8) he reveals beautiful tone, fluent coloratura, nuanced singing and operatic expressivity – he is since a handful of years a permanent member of the Vienna Volksoper. Great singing indeed – and attractive music. Ochoa also opens the concluding Ave Regina. The fourth soloist, alto Johanna Krödel is only heard briefly.

There is every reason to be grateful to Franz Hauk and his co-workers for digging out and making available to the public this treasure-trove of music from the pen of Johann Simon Mayr.

Göran Forsling


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