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Zelenka: Missa Votiva / Bernius, Taylor, Lunn, Bauer, Stuttgart

Zelenka / Kcs / Bos / Bernius
Release Date: 10/05/2010 
Label:  Carus   Catalog #: 83223  
Composer:  Jan Dismas Zelenka
Performer:  Joanne LunnDaniel TaylorJohannes KaleschkeThomas E. Bauer
Conductor:  Frieder Bernius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber ChoirStuttgart Baroque Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Extraordinarily well-written, prodigiously inventive, and relentlessly exciting--these aren't terms normally used to describe 18th-century Masses, but then there is nothing "normal" about this late work by Czech composer Jan Dismas Zelenka. Simply put, if you aren't acquainted with Zelenka (or if you've experienced a previous aversion to Masses), when you hear this piece--a substantial and powerful conception, from the first note of the Kyrie to the final chord of the Dona nobis pacem--you will wonder why this composer does not enjoy much greater esteem and popularity with performers, particularly alongside J.S. Bach (his contemporary) and Mozart.

There certainly is nothing
Read more "second-rate" in this music; rather, we hear a composer completely in command and confident in his often unconventional turns of harmony, his compelling, inevitable rhythmic sense, and perhaps most of all, his superhuman (certainly divinely inspired!) affinity for fugal writing. The fugues alone--at least a half-dozen major ones plus several other fugue-like passages--are so finely wrought from a technical standpoint and absolutely infectious in an emotional sense as to cause even the least attentive listener to scramble for the CD player's repeat button. I confess to at least a dozen hearings and I'm still ready for more.

Interestingly--and this you will notice immediately--although Zelenka was older than Bach (he was working in Dresden while Bach was in Leipzig) and died 11 years before Mozart was born, his "theatrical" style (including his dramatic use of the orchestra--the stunning "Et resurrexit", for example), crisply delineated textures, and free-spirited fugues are surprisingly closer to Mozart, bearing almost no resemblance to Bach. And his facile, song-like melodies have more in common with later classical style than with contemporary baroque practice. In fact, the Qui tollis could be a lost movement from Mozart's Requiem; and where/how do you classify the scintillating syncopated fugue in Cum Sancto Spiritu II? Perhaps most impressive is how Zelenka even creates a Credo of such salience and substance that you want to hear it again and again!

Of course, credit must go to the Stuttgart forces and conductor Frieder Bernius for enlivening this music not just with a faithful rendition of notes but with exemplary choral singing and orchestral ensemble playing characterized by vivid color, rare precision, and vibrant sonority. The culmination of these virtues can be heard in the alto-solo movement Et incarnatus est or in the choral Crucifixus, in the gorgeous Agnus Dei (a cascade of beautiful harmony), and unusually rousing(!) Dona nobis pacem--but you really can start anywhere and hear ravishing sound and music, one felicitous rhythm, sizzling harmony, and captivating melody after another. And one more thing: the solo singing is uniformly fabulous. No question: This recording has "best choral disc of 2010" written all over it. Don't miss.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Missa Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18 by Jan Dismas Zelenka
Performer:  Joanne Lunn (Soprano), Daniel Taylor (Countertenor), Johannes Kaleschke (Tenor),
Thomas E. Bauer (Baritone)
Conductor:  Frieder Bernius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Choir,  Stuttgart Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1739; Bohemia 

Sound Samples

Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Kyrie: Kyrie eleison I (Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Kyrie: Christe eleison (Soprano)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Kyrie: Kyrie eleison II (Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Kyrie: Kyrie eleison III (Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Gloria: Gloria in excelsis Deo (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Gloria: Gratia agimus tibi (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Gloria: Qui tollis peccata mundi (Soprano)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Gloria: Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris (Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Gloria: Quoniam tu solus Sanctus (Baritone)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Gloria: Cum Sancto Spiritu I (Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Gloria: Cum Sancto Spiritu II (Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Credo: Credo in unum Deum (Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Credo: Et incarnatus est (Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Credo: Crucifixus (Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Credo: Et resurrexit (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Sanctus: Sanctus (Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Sanctus: Benedictus (Soprano)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Sanctus: Osanna (Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Agnus Dei: Agnus Dei (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, Chorus)
Votiva in E minor, ZWV 18: Agnus Dei: Dona nobis pacem (Chorus)

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