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Thu, 30 Mar 2006

Mozart, Exsultate Jubilate

Mozart – Exsultate Jubilate!
Regina Coeli K108
Laudate Dominum K339
Sub tuum Praesidium K198
Sancta Maria, mater Dei K273
Esxultate, Jubilate K 165
Agnus Dei K317
Laudate Dominum K 321
Regina Coeli K 127
CD, Hyperion	

Carolyn Sampson – soprano
Choir of the King’s Consort
The King’s Consort
Robert King – conductor
Recorded in Cadogan Hall, London on 29th-31st October 2006 

This recording brings together some of Mozart’s sacred music, some of which was written when he was employed under the patronage of the Prince-archbishops of Salzburg. Despite the fact that Mozart found his relatively short-lived employment there frustrating, as he considered Salzburg to be provincial and often longed to gain release to mingle with the more international musical society, his work was as productive and of as high a quality as ever. When listening to this music, it is incredible to remember that Mozart was only in his mid-teens! After his dismissal from his position at Salzburg he requested his father to send copies of his Sacred Music (K317, 337 and 275) to impress the musical society in Munich. As one would expect of Mozart, his treatment of the Mass and other religious settings is charming, beautiful, innovative (particularly in the use of tonality and adapting the music to suit each singer) and often displays an operatic style. In fact, the Exsultate, Jubilate K165 was composed for the castrato soprano, Venanzio Rauzzini who was certainly more familiar in operatic settings.

Carolyn Sampson definitely deserves her reputation as “one of the leading British sopranos of her generation.” She has a beautifully gentle and soft voice (which can obviously be more powerful when it is appropriate) that is never overbearing for the style and context, and her coloratura is superb. The combination of her musical sensitivity and that of Robert King and the King’s Consort has produced a wonderful and recording that anyone would enjoy.

In fact my only possible criticism of this CD would be the order of the programme notes in the inlay cover – they don’t match the playing order on the CD and confused me several times! (M.N.)

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