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Regina caeli, K127
author of text
Antiphon to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Paschal Time

'Mozart: Exsultate jubilate! & other works' (CDA30012)
Mozart: Exsultate jubilate! & other works
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Movement 1: Regina caeli laetare
Movement 2: Quia quem meruisti
Movement 3: Ora pro nobis
Movement 4: Alleluia

Regina caeli, K127
Mozart’s two settings of Regina coeli 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 coeli was composed for ‘die Haydnin’.

The second setting of Regina coeli, K127, dispenses with trumpets and timpani, and returns to another regular wind presence, that of oboes and horns; in the slow movement the oboes are again replaced by gentle flutes. A more complex orchestral texture is evident from the start, the strings given especially busy passagework, and the chorus-writing too is more intricate. Another notable orchestral feature is Mozart’s thrilling use of high horn-writing. The second movement, Quia quem meruisti, is primarily given over to the soloist, once again presenting writing that would not go amiss in the opera house; the chorus twice enters at ‘Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia’. That second choral interpolation runs straight to the movement which is the heart of the piece, the E flat major Ora pro nobis. Here is glorious Mozart, touching yet noble, wonderful in its gently unexpected melodic turns, ornate yet utterly beguiling. The final movement is a swinging Alleluia, the soloist answered at the end of each section by the full chorus.

from notes by Robert King © 2006

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