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Ryba: Czech Christmas Mass, Etc / Smetacek, Vymazalova

Release Date: 10/29/2002 
Label:  Supraphon   Catalog #: 3658   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Jan Jakub Ryba
Performer:  Jaroslava VymazalováMarie MrázováBenno BlachutZdenek Kroupa,   ... 
Conductor:  Václáv Smetácek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic ChorusPrague Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 43 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

It's hard to tell what's going on here. Although it's called a "mass", and the movements are indeed named after the sections of the Roman liturgical service, Jakub Jan Ryba's (1765-1815) Czech Christmas Mass abandons the traditional Latin texts for a format more akin to a pastoral play. Apparently what we're hearing is dialogue (in Czech) among shepherds preparing to visit Bethlehem. The problem is, no texts or translations are included, so all we can do is listen and wonder exactly what all those soloists are singing about. Not that the music is especially interesting--it's about as structurally formulaic as music from this period can get, and the scoring for four soloists, choir, organ, and orchestra offers not the slightest Read more hint of originality.

But perhaps that's not the point. This kind of work was designed as a familiar, accessible invocation of the Nativity story, presented in church on Christmas eve, and both the music and the words would have been well-known to the congregation--as it apparently is today in certain parts of the Czech Republic. And it's that audience that likely will appreciate the simplicity and meaning inherent in this 39-minute scenario. The soloists are decidedly heavy of tone and/or wide of vibrato, especially the labored-sounding bass, but that seems to be a preference and a style. And no one can be accused of lacking enthusiasm or sincerity throughout the performances. The sound from this 1966 production is perfectly fine, and the "filler", a four-minute pastorella for soprano, flute, organ, and orchestra titled My lovely Nightingale is charming and as musically naive and unpretentious as the mass.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Czech Christmas Mass by Jan Jakub Ryba
Performer:  Jaroslava Vymazalová (Soprano), Marie Mrázová (Alto), Benno Blachut (Tenor),
Zdenek Kroupa (Bass), Milan Slechta (Organ)
Conductor:  Václáv Smetácek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Chorus,  Prague Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 01/1966 
Venue:  Rudolfinum, Prague, Czechoslovakia 
Length: 38 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: Czech 
Sweet Nightingale by Jan Jakub Ryba
Performer:  Jaroslav Josifko (Flute), Jaroslav Vodrázka (Organ), Helena Tattermuschová (Soprano)
Conductor:  Václáv Smetácek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 01/1966 
Venue:  Rudolfinum, Prague, Czechoslovakia 
Length: 4 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: Czech 

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