The year 2006 marks a major musical anniversary with the 250th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The world has enjoyed the genius of Mozart through his symphonies, operas, chamber and piano music. In addition, his Requiem, left incomplete at his death, remains one of the most beloved of sacred choral works. Gloriæ Dei Cantores presents a rare look at a side of Mozart that is not so well known: his contribution to music for the Church. Included in this recording are two rarely heard major works of great beauty and invention: Davide Penitente K. 469 and the Litaniae de venerabili altaris Sacramento K. 243. Also included are a further litany, several motets, and two of the famous church sonatas for small orchestra and organ, giving a rounded picture of Mozart, the sacred musician. Mozart: Rare Choral Works will be a profound experience for the classical music lover and for those who are interested in the sacred side of one of the best-loved composers of all time.
All performances based on the New Mozart Edition (Neue Mozart-Ausgabe); used by permission of Baerenreiter, publisher and copyright owner.
|1||Veni Sancte Spiritus K.47||3:44|
|Betulia Liberata K.118|
|2||Del pari infeconda||6:30|
|4||Misericordias Domini K.222||5:22|
|5||Church Sonata K.278||3:45|
|Litaniae De Venerabili Altaris Sacramento K.243|
|8||Verbum caro factum||1:13|
|15||Venite Populi K.260||4:26|
| ||Total Time:||59:08|
|Regina Coeli K. 108|
|2||Quia quem meruisti||3:27|
|3||Ora pro nobis||4:14|
|Litaniae Lauretanae K. 109|
|10||Church Sonata K. 329||4:16|
|Davidde Penitente K. 469|
|11||Coro: Alzai le flebili voci al Signor||4:52|
|12||Coro: Cantiam le glorie||2:00|
|13||Aria: Lungi le cure ingrate||4:40|
|14||Coro: Sii pur sempre benigno, oh Dio||1:10|
|15||Duetto: Sorgi, o Signore||2:50|
|16||Aria: A te, fra tanti affanni||6:28|
|17||Coro: Se vuoi, puniscimi||6:04|
|18||Aria: Tra l'oscure||6:37|
|19||Terzetto: Tutte le mie||3:19|
|20||Coro: Chi in Dio sol||4:36|
| ||Total Time:||71:01|
This is a useful collection of rare choral works by the composer whose 250th anniversary occurs this year. . . . This version fills a significant need. The fine performances are enhanced by the acoustics of the new church at the choir's home. Of the soloists, Christine Helfrich is outstanding in K108 and the closing movement of K243. This is a well-thought-out collection, a useful anniversary issue.
J.F. Weber, Fanfare
An important anniversary year of a famous composer always brings out recording projects that purport to offer something unusual or rare or somehow different from the mainstream releases. Of course, many don't live up to their billing, or worse, fall short in purely musical value. This is one of the more successful and thoughtfully programmed collections to appear so far in this "Mozart Year", and although many of the works featured have been recorded multiple times--and quite well--the high quality of the performances here, and the presence of the truly and inexplicably "rare" oratorio Davidde penitente, makes this set a very attractive and musically satisfying listen.
Of course, not everything here is top-drawer Mozart--several of the pieces are relatively early works--but even the second-tier pieces readily reveal the trademarks of genius, whether in the orchestral writing (the tidily scored Regina coeli K. 108, from 1771), the mastery of polyphony (Misericordias Domini), or, of course, in the unsurpassed melodic invention, evident throughout, from the earliest to latest compositions. What's interesting is how you can pick up compositional devices in works Mozart wrote in Salzburg in 1771 that are still recognizable in his last choral pieces written in Vienna 20 years later.
As mentioned, the performances are very good, especially the finely executed, energetic, vibrant choral ensemble singing and the equally dynamic and tightly-knit orchestral accompaniment, expertly conducted by Richard Pugsley. In these areas, there are no weaknesses. . . the choral singing is really terrific! . . . richly rewarding, generously programmed CDs.
That said, it's wonderful to have a new and very solid performance of Mozart's Davidde penitente. A reworking of music from his unfinished C minor Mass, with some additional original material, this 45-minute piece (with libretto by da Ponte) features some very impressive solo and choral music, including some challenging, operatic-style arias. Although it's labeled an "oratorio", it doesn't have the depth and cohesive dramatic import of the genre's great masterpieces by Haydn or Handel. Nevertheless, this performance, with some nice contributions by soprano Kathy Schuman, is a highlight--and the work absolutely deserves respect from today's choirs looking to celebrate the best of Mozart's vocal music.
The recording, made in Gloriae Dei Cantores' home venue, the Church of the Transfiguration in Orleans, Massachusetts, is expertly engineered, offering realistic, detailed choral sound, properly balanced with the orchestra, in an acoustic that's warm yet enhanced with an enlivening resonance--ideal for this music. This is a set that should prove attractive to all Mozart lovers, especially valuable for its gathering together of rare works of real merit rather than rarely recorded works that should remain so. This is a real treat--an ambitious and justly rewarding addition to the Mozart recording catalog.
David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
...Exciting is the only word I can use to convey what I heard....The Viaticum comes off extremely well in this recording...Regina Coeli is a festive piece and Gloriae Dei cantores and Vox Caieli Sinfonia are certainly festive when need be...I can say this version is right up there on my list. In the Sancti Maria, the soloists and chorus come together beautifully to bring out the touching prayer to St. Mary...If you do not have the oratorio Davide Penitente in your collection, what an opportunity you have here. Notes include full text and English translation...I can boil this entire review down to three little words for you. BUY THIS SET!! Under-recorded works in excellent interpretations.
Dennis Pajot MozartForum.com
Here the trusty and sonorous singers of Gloriae Dei Cantores..deliver...a survey of little-known sacred choral works in honor of Mozart's anniversary year...The choir sounds terrific as usual.
American Record Guide
I have...been an ardent fan of the work of the Gloriae Dei Cantores, and I have followed with avidity their superb work through the years. The Gloriae Dei Cantores have now reached yet another pinnacle, just when I was certain they had reached the highest peaks. The Mozart recording lit superb in every way: ensemble, authenticity of style, conviction of interpretation, sheer beauty of sound, and, above all, the spiritual glory of Mozart flawlessly expressed for us all to hear.
Gerre Hancock Organist and Master of Choristers emeritus Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue New York
I cannot think of a greater, more inspiring, and exciting contribution to this 250th anniversary year of Mozart's birth that these two CD's of his more obscure and unjustly neglected choral works. The performances by the chorus Gloria Dei Cantores and the instrumental ensemble Vox Caeli Sinfonia are uniformly excellent. The interpretation of these magnificent works is the first rate and accompanying booklet full of invaluable information about the works presented. This is a birthday present Mozart would have loved as well as everyone fortunate enough to own this wonderful set of CDs.
Samuel Adler, Professor of Composition, The Juilliard School
Mozart: Rare Choral Works is a rich collection of Mozart's lesser known and much varied church music...It is a radiant performance by a choir and soloists who sing with real commitment and passion....An absolute must for Mozart lovers.
Stephanie Cowell Author, Marrying Mozart
...Gloriae Dei Cantores sings with fervor and grace and with an obvious affection for all of this glorious music.
Philip Brunelle Founder and Artistic Director, Vocal Essence
Sound: clear and well produced; direction and musicality: professional sound quality; program notes: excellent, lucid and scholarly helpful. The choral singing is first rate.
Erna Schwerin, President, Friends of Mozart Inc.
...the forty-voice ensemble Gloriae Dei Cantores under the direction of Elizabeth Patterson are in really fine voice and it is difficult not to be impressed by their security of ensemble...this well-packaged release from Gloriae Dei Cantores contains full Latin texts with English translations and fascinating and informative liner notes from organist David Chalmers...It is good to hear dome of Mozart's lesser performed sacred choral works in this his anniversary year.
Michael Cookson Music Web International
...the ensemble...as usual, gives an excellent performance...Gloriae Dei Cantores has been called the best amateur choir in the country. But "amateur" here refers only to the fact that the singers aren't paid. Their vocal quality and sensitivity are professional indeed....The performance showcases both the ensemble strength of Gloriae Dei Cantores and the skills of its solists.
Linda-Marie Delloff The Lutheran