Mozart – Sacred Music


rec. 11-13 January 2007, Brno. ARCO DIVA UP0101 – 2131

There are two settings of the Regina Coeli, both of which feature prominent soprano solo parts. The setting in B major is the later of the two and annotator Alena Borková comments on its “compositionally more mature structure [which] opens new horizons for the virtuoso solo soprano.” That may be true but actually I find the earlier setting in C major more interesting. It’s also more fully scored, containing parts for horns, trumpets and timpani. These enliven the textures in the festive first and fourth movements of the C major Regina Coeli. In these movements the music does indeed have, in Borková’s words “youthful eagerness” and that quality comes across in this spirited performance. In the two inner movements soprano Simona Houda Šaturová has the limelight and she sings very well indeed.

She also contributes significantly to the B major setting. Hers is a relatively light voice and it seems to be very well suited to Mozart. She has a gleaming top and also produces a nice, round sound in the lower register of her voice. Throughout the disc her tone is pure and clear and her singing gave me a good deal of pleasure. I’ve not heard her before but I was very impressed.

Miss Šaturová is heard to good advantage in both these Mozart works. In Laudate Dominum she sustains a beautiful line and sings with an enticing tone. Exsultate, Jubilate is even more of a test. As Alena Borková observes this piece overshadows all the rest of the music that Mozart composed in these Italian years and I love the description that the music is “covered with the pollen of Italian melodiousness.” Miss Šaturová’s singing in the first section of the motet is light and joyful. Once again she maintains an excellent line and she also negotiates the vocal pyrotechnics very adroitly. She’s poised in the andante aria ‘Tu virginum corona’ and rises splendidly to the virtuoso challenges of the concluding ‘Alleluia.’ Hers is a most winning account of this piece.
John Quinn