Vanhal: Missa solemnis

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COMPOSERS: Vanhal
LABELS: Orfeo
WORKS: Missa solemnis
PERFORMER: Marta Filová (soprano), Marta Benacková (mezzo-soprano), Jörg Dürmüller (tenor), Jirí Sulzenko (bass); Prague Chamber Choir, Virtuosi di Praga/Václav Neumann
CATALOGUE NO: C 353 951
The friend of Haydn and Mozart, Vanhal was one of the many Czech-born composers who made a successful living in Vienna in the Classical period while providing a vital strand in the city’s musical fabric. His Missa solemnis, along with much other church music, was composed in the late 1770s before he settled permanently in Vienna. Enormously accomplished and unfailingly charming, the music is saved from blandness by moments of ear-catching imagination such as the daring chromaticism in the first Kyrie and the superbly expressive instrumental soli in the Domine Deus, Rex caelestis and Benedictus. Orchestra, choir and soloists are dependable rather than inspiring, but their affection for this delightful work shines out at crucial moments. Jan Smaczny

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