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Zelenka's Lamentations ZWV 53 and Responsories ZWV 55 have each been recorded before of course en bloc, but this is the first time there has been any (partial at least - see anon) recording of both in proper context of the Maundy Thursday/Good Friday/Easter Saturday services, the lessons from Lamentations alongside the readings from Augustine's commentary on the Psalms and New Testament epistles, interspersed with Zelenka's choral Responsories reflecting on the significance of the preceding lesson texts to the Holy Week events. Even then despite two compact discs worth of space to play with, after the first the subsequent Lamentations have sadly been omitted due to reasons of space and replaced by plainchant equivalents (plus Zelenka apparently never got round to composing the full set of Lamentations anyway - there only exist six of the expected nine). The full set would have been an immense achievement indeed.

Nevertheless we must applaud Václav Luks and Collegium 1704/Collegium 1704 Vocale for undertaking such a project. The choir of seventeen personnel, sometimes as a subset of eight, who comprise vocal ensemble Collegium Vocale 1704 have great dynamism without being overly "choral". Everybody except one among the seventeen vocalists gets to take turns in delivering several solos/duets/trios - that's how good the ensemble is. Luks directs the singers and the instrumentalists of Collegium 1704 with ease, and the recorded sound quality is excellent.

The two disc digipak includes a booklet with considerable notes and full sung texts with translations. It's a truly superb set.
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