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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: 13 minutes 44 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' (

Exsultate, iubilate, K165
'Salzburg version', first performed on 30 May 1779
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Exsultate, jubilate, K165 is easily the most famous of Mozart’s sacred settings for soprano. It was written following the success of Mozart’s opera Lucio Silla, first staged in Milan at Christmas 1772. The title role was taken by the soprano castrato Venanzio Rauzzini and, captivated by the voice of his primo uomo, during the weeks afterwards Mozart wrote a sacred piece that would make full use of his renowned coloratura, range and wide vocal colour palette. Indeed, the friendship that was struck up between the two lasted for many years. Mozart must have enjoyed working with a musician who was not only an extraordinary singer but also an accomplished all-rounder who composed and played the piano (Rauzzini later moved to England where he enjoyed a long career, dying in the city of Bath in 1810). That Mozart wrote a sacred piece which essentially used operatic techniques and forms would have met with little surprise: the two musical worlds, church and opera, often merged in such a manner.

In 1779, slightly more than six years after the Milan premiere, a new version of Exsultate, jubilate was performed in Salzburg by the castrato Francesco Ceccarelli, probably in Holy Trinity Church on 30 May 1779 at Mass. The diary of Nannerl Mozart, Wolfgang’s sister, mentions that her brother and father lunched that day at the presbytery next to the church. This manuscript was discovered only in 1978 at the Stadtpfarrkirche St Jakob in Wasserburg am Inn, Austria, a village near Salzburg, and is partly copied by Mozart’s father Leopold. The first, striking difference with the more widely known version is the inclusion of flutes, rather than oboes; their presence provides a radically new colour to what is nowadays a well-known score. The other variation in the Salzburg version is the libretto which, in the first two movements, provides not one but two different texts to those performed in Milan: one is suitable for Trinity Sunday, the other for the Nativity (though there is no evidence that the Christmas version was ever performed). The Trinity text is performed here.

The opening of the first Allegro is confident, much in the manner of a concerto movement: running strings present one theme, the flutes cheerfully flourish in the other before the soloist enters. They create first and second subject matter. A brief recitative (its different text to that of the Milan version resulting in markedly different rhythms) leads to a lyrical Andante aria in the relatively distant key of A major, Tu virginum corona. Mozart provides an orchestral link back to the F major of the final, showcase Alleluia which jubilantly presents a series of soloistic fireworks.

from notes by Robert King © 2006

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