Mozart: Vespers / Cleobury, King's College Choir

Release Date: 7/18/1989
Label: EMI
Catalog Number: 496722
Conductor: Stephen Cleobury
Number of Discs: 1

Physical Format:

CD
Low Stock
$16.99
Notes and Editorial Reviews
It's unusual to have Mozart's two sets of Vespers on one disc. The four soloists and the period-instrument ensemble are first-rate.

It's unusual to have Mozart's two sets of Vespers (both dating from the two-year period of his final stay in Salzburg which also produced the two Masses in C) on one disc, for the latter set is far more popular and is often coupled with the even more beloved “Coronation“ Mass in C. The last psalm of this set is a soprano solo, the only section of either work that ever appeared in the 78-rpm era. Despite the contrasting titles (and the partly different list of psalms assigned in twentieth-century liturgical books), both works consist of the same five psalms plus the canticle Magnificat. Despite their varying length (the final Laudate Dominum is the shortest of all psalm texts), the composer manages to make each one come out to about the same duration. For contrast he varies the mood and the assignment of solo voices.

The Vespers of a Confessor, augmented by Gregorian antiphons and coupled with the ' 'Coronation“ Mass, appeared just recently from Hamoncourt {Fanfare 11:3), although it doesn't appear in recent Schwanns, possibly a temporary problem of Teldec distribution. The choice between Hamoncourt's sure-fire coupling and the only available version of the other set of Vespers, as here, will depend on the collecting instincts, for both are fine interpretations. The King's boys are more piping than we sometimes hear them, but the four soloists (the Hilliard Ensemble brought in en masse) and the period-instrument ensemble are first-rate. I'm quite taken with soprano Lynne Dawson, while tenor Rogers Covey-Crump and bass Paul Hillier are familiar and dependable. If the players appear to be a new group (the name at least is), rest assured that Roy Goodman has doubtless brought in the same players he has used under several other names, depending on the repertoire and the label. The concluding, ever-present Ave verum corpus is one of the many good ones that corresponds to Mozart's score (there are far more on records that don't).

The acoustics of King's chapel are well controlled. The brief notes are informative, texts and translations are furnished. This is my idea of a sensible coupling, but that is something buyers inevitably control in the marketplace. Give it a chance.

– J. F. Weber, Fanfare [1-2/1990]
Works on This Recording
1. Vesperae de Dominica, K 321 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer: Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Lynne Dawson (Soprano), Paul Hillier (Bass), David [Countertenor] James (Countertenor)
Conductor: Stephen Cleobury
Period: Classical
Written: 1779 ; Salzburg, Austria
2. Vesperae solennes de confessore, K 339 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer: Lynne Dawson (Soprano), Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), David [Countertenor] James (Countertenor), Paul Hillier (Bass)
Conductor: Stephen Cleobury
Period: Classical
Written: 1780 ; Salzburg, Austria
3. Ave verum corpus in D major, K 618 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer: Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor), Lynne Dawson (Soprano), Paul Hillier (Bass), David [Countertenor] James (Countertenor)
Conductor: Stephen Cleobury
Period: Classical
Written: 1791 ; Austria
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