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Hyperion Records

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Photograph by Johnny Greig.
Track(s) taken from CDA30012
Recording details: October 2005
Cadogan Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Jonathan Stokes & Neil Hutchinson
Release date: February 2006
Total duration: 14 minutes 53 seconds

'What more could you want in these works than a soloist who places every note with joyous precision, moves from one to another so cleanly, and demonstrates at every turn such intelligent but unfussy musicianship? This is a sunny and unpretentious disc which deserves to be among the successes of the Mozart year' (Gramophone)

'Robert King and his choral and orchestral forces give clean and direct performances in sound that is nicely balanced and benefits from the mellow acoustic of London's Cadogan Hall. The soprano focus of interest is Carolyn Sampson, whose musical sensibility and personality are exceptional … unreservedly recommended' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Sampson confirms her growing reputation in 18th-century music with delectable performances, fresh and limpid of tone, stylish and shapely of phrase. The reams of coloratura in Exsultate, iubilate! are truly joyous, not merely accurate … prompt, polished orchestral playing and first-rate choral singing set the seal on a delightful and enterprising birthday offering' (The Daily Telegraph)

'These devotional scores are models of understatement. Sampson floats exquisitely through the Agnus Dei of the Coronation Mass, maintains a serene line in Laudate Dominum from the Vespers, unearths two long settings of Regina caeli and indulgently duets with herself in Sub tuum praesidium' (The Times)

'This is thrilling music, rousingly performed by the orchestra and chorus. Even better are the central arias, which Carolyn Sampson sings with heart-easing grace and brilliant virtuosity. She is equally fluent in the Exsultate, iubilate! rising up to a top C at the end that will have you cheering from your seat. And she sings both parts of the duet Sub tuum praesidium so beautifully as to still any disquiet at the fakery. Don't miss this' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Lustrous and engaging performances' (The Scotsman)

'Sampson's ravishing soprano has all the sparkle and purity this music needs, and The King's Consort under Robert King provides a lively foundation' (Financial Times)

'Carolyn Sampson gives a characteristically stunning performance, with great drama, vocal flexibility and a wide range of expressive devices … the orchestra plays with great panache and precise articulation … King's choir sings with clarity and jubilation in their brief appearances, and over-all, this recording plays ideal tribute to the early mature sacred works of Mozart written in his late teens and early twenties' (Early Music)

'Quelle belle surprise! Carolyn Sampson nous livre un CD Mozart qui est non pas un modèle de chaleur, mais un disque très bon gôut, réussi en tout. On admirera aussi la finesse musicale de King, qui ne bouscule jamais le discours et dont les bois enrichessent très bien la palette sonore' (ClassicsTodayFrance.com)

Regina caeli, K108
composer
May 1771
author of text
Antiphon to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Paschal Time

Other recordings available for download
St Paul's Cathedral Choir, St Paul's Mozart Orchestra, Andrew Carwood (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Mozart’s two settings of Regina caeli are astonishing works, written whilst he was still in his mid-teens. K108 dates from May 1771 and was probably written for a seasonal festival; K127 was written the following year. From a letter from Leopold we know that one of the two—frustratingly we do not know which—was written for Michael Haydn’s wife, Maria Magdalena Lipp, who was attached to the court as a soprano; Leopold writes that Wolfgang’s Regina caeli was composed for ‘die Haydnin’.

Regina caeli, K108 is a grand setting which bears many of the trademarks of Austrian ceremonial, ecclesiastical music, and is proudly scored by its fifteen-year-old composer in C major (the key most commonly used for grand, celebratory music) for pairs of oboes, horns and trumpets as well as the ‘rauschenden Violinen’ (‘burbling violins’) which were such a feature of Salzburg sacred music at the time. The motet’s four-movement structure is influenced by Neapolitan church music, with the two outer movements, in which a primarily homophonic chorus is set against a more ornate orchestral backdrop, enclosing two more gentle movements primarily given to the soloist. An energetic instrumental prelude introduces a grand chorus, largely homophonic in texture. For the gentle second movement, Quia quem meruisti, a classic F major Mozartian aria which is melodious and elegant, flutes replace the oboes, and the chorus alleluias are restrained; the intermittent use of double violas harks back to orchestral textures of a century before and the solo soprano line, containing florid passages and wide leaps, could easily come from one of Mozart’s operas. The two solo episodes are punctuated by more straightforward choral epilogues. The second aria, Ora pro nobis, set for the soloist without chorus, is gloriously lyrical, with the orchestration reduced to strings alone, and the first violins provided with a rich melody. The final movement returns to C major and the full orchestra, exploring contrasts between solo and tutti; the solo moments are once again thoroughly operatic in their coloratura, while the chorus issues strong and forthright alleluias.

from notes by Robert King © 2006


Other albums featuring this work
'Mozart: Missa solemnis & other works' (CDA67921)
Mozart: Missa solemnis & other works
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