Mozart: Vesperae solennes de Dominica, K321; Vesperae solennes de confessore, K339; Dixit & Magnificat, K193

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Vesperae solennes de Dominica, K321; Vesperae solennes de confessore, K339; Dixit & Magnificat, K193
PERFORMER: Greta De Reyghere (soprano), Marijke van Arnhem (mezzo-soprano), Renaat Deckers (tenor), Jan Van der Crabben (bass); Collegium Instrumentale Brugense, Capella Brugensis/Patrick Peire
CATALOGUE NO: 8.554158
It’s a good idea to bring together on one CD all Mozart’s Vespers settings, which were written for Salzburg where he was sometime court organist and intimately (if rather reluctantly) employed in providing music for the cathedral. The two complete sets date from 1779-80, while the Dixit and Magnificat alone were composed five years earlier.

Advertisement

The Vesperae solennes de confessore is best known, of course, for the quasi-operatic soprano aria ‘Laudate Dominum’, which soloist Greta De Reyghere delivers here with assurance and taste. She’s more obviously taxed, however, by its trickier equivalent in the Vesperae solennes de Dominica (or Sunday Vespers) of the previous year. The remaining settings are highly varied, with a relatively small proportion of solo interjections freshening up the choral and orchestral textures. Mozart shows his increasing mastery in producing a sequence of inventive, often brilliant movements whose prime objective (at least as far as the Archbishop was concerned) was the clear exposition of the text.

Advertisement

All four soloists, choir and orchestra provide light and graceful music-making that is expertly balanced by conductor Patrick Peire, whose attention to momentum is constant but who never presses wilfully onwards. The period-instrument players are notable for their skill (the brass are absolutely secure) and the choir for its crisp delivery. The two major settings are rarely brought together in this way, but Stephen Cleobury conducts an attractive alternative based around the Anglican choral values of King’s College, Cambridge. George Hall