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on 14 December 2013
The music of Mozart is elegant, melodic and endlessly inventive and the Choir of New College, Oxford is, in my estimation, second to none. So, put those two elements together and good things are going to happen! This is most definitely the case with this superb recording, which features two of Mozart's finest choral works framing an excellent instrumental Sonata. I especially like the balance between instruments and choir, which is spot on. Some of the vocal parts are really quite challenging and difficult, especially so for the soprano soloist (Inigo Jones) who has to negotiate some very tricky sections. This boy has a strikingly beautiful tone to his voice, which is bright and crystal clear. Just listen to, and be amazed by, his vocal gymnastics in the "Laudate Dominum",which he performs faultlessly.
The good work that Edward Higginbottom has achieved with the choir over the years cannot be under-estimated. He took one of the best choirs in England and evolved it into the world class ensemble that we can all enjoy today.
I very much hope that more Mozart magic will come from New College, as they obviously have a genuine affinity and understanding of his work. I would also like to congratulate Novum, New College's record label, for producing very attractively designed (and practical) CD covers, which have a neat "gate-fold" style and come with copious and informative notes and translations of texts.
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on 28 September 2014
Just to correct previous reviewer, the choir is all-male, so the soloist in the Litany is er... a boy.
As much as I love the Cotrubas recording referred to, this is one provides an awesome combination of scholarship & musicianship - right down to the German pronunciation of the Latin text...
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on 11 May 2014
K 195 - Litaniae Lauretanae de Beata Maria Virgine - is the third of Mozart's four works in the domain. It's a masterpiece. The Kyrie, with its staggered entry for soloists, picks up one like a feather - penitents, all board! The Salus Infirmorum opens like the Qui tollis from K 427. All things converge in the Agnus Dei; in terms of sheer beauty, Mozart never surpassed this achievement; as light fades in the Cathedral and the soprano falls silent, the oboist presides over its close and in doing so, eternalizes the listener. In my estimation, there's one performance that's worthy of this kerygma: Mozart: Laudate Dominum/Vespers. It features the great Ileana Cotrubas in full flight. I cannot imagine being without her Agnus Dei. It's a mandatory acquisition for any Mozartian.

K 321 has been obscured by the latter set of Vespers (K 339) and rightly so: this is another day at the office for Mozart. My idolatry of the Salzburg Kid notwithstanding, I've never been able to latch onto it. Re K 329: it's always good fun to hear one of Mozart's Epistle Sonatas. It should almost be counted as a germinal piano concerto.

English university colleges - as I understand it - have a long traditional of polished semi-professional music making of which this disc is representative. One can sense the dedication of the Collegium Novum (which uses modern-day pitch) and the Choir of New College Oxford (which sings lustrously). The performance of K 329 is a hoot. Nevertheless, the soprano in K 195 is bovine (the Sancta Maria inadvertently becomes a Via Crucis) and her colleagues are little better. As Mozart allocates so much of the heavy-lifting to the soloists, failure ensues. The recording, as one would expect, is somewhat resonant but acceptable all the same.

The sincerity of this endeavour is indisputable. Its longevity is another matter.
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