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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars

TOP 50 REVIEWERon 22 January 2012
This is the kind of recording we took for granted forty years ago, although the advent of the young Kiri Te Kanawa, still in her mid-twenties was by no means a routine event. I remember a little later after this disc appeared getting a signed copy of her Mozart recital LP and thinking I'd never heard a lovelier voice; she was made for Mozart, as her peerless Countess proves.

However, she is not the only reason for buying this CD: the sound is excellent and Colin Davis is already requiring a period lightness from his musicians without any of the attendant excessive HIP disadvantages. The LSO play with a freshness and spring wholly apt to the joyful abandon of this music and nothing is treacly or laboured, even when a graver demeanour is in order, such as in the dignified but flowing "Ave Verum". The regular team of supporting soloists is on hand, including the grand, distinctive bass of Gwynne Howell.

My esteemed fellow-reviewer Bernard O'Hanlon finds Kiri to sound "flat" in her showpiece "Exsultate", by which I gather he means not flat in pitch - which she isn't - but in tonal refulgence and expression. I have listened again and again and compared her with similar-voiced Sylvia McNair but I cannot hear it; both are delightful. I think he might be put off by the fact that her vibrato is fast and light - usually a very attractive thing in sopranos too often afflicted by a wobble - and because she never seems to need to lean into her tone to carry the note, so it all sounds very effortless - which it is. He asserts that she sounds better in her solo "Laudate Dominum" in the Vespers and it's true her tone is marginally more vibrant there. Throughout, her pure, flickering trill and fluting top notes - including a superb top C to conclude the "Alleluia" - are evidence of a singer whose technique must already have been the envy of her peers and which explains why she continued to sing beautifully for another forty years.

Not all the music here is the same top-drawer quality as the better-known numbers but it's all is as skilfully crafted as you would expect from Mozart and gems such as the soprano solos make the disc worth five stars by any measure.
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on 21 March 2017
Marvellous performances spoiled by poor recording, especially the Vespers which sounds very muffled. Excellent service from this merchant however.
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on 10 February 2015
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on 26 February 2009
this is a superb mozart disk on its own right - without overplaying the Kir TeKanawa link.

The Solemn Vespers etc are robust and well recorded, sensitively played with correct - even period-informed in its lightness - style and great musicianship.

Often mozart choral disks can be cerebral - the period briaged (and I have an awful lot of their recordings and love them in their own way). But I think I will be coming back to this one more than most of the others - and not just for TeKanawa.
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on 16 April 2009
Anybody having Exsultate Jubilate as their favourite would probably agree with me that this CD is the very best. Other performers have recorded this title but none of them has reached the same heights as Dame Kiri.
I have never heard any other soprano sing Exsultate Jubilate with the same clear voice, especially at the end of the " Unde Suspirat Cor" her vibrato is the most beautiful - it gives me goose bumps. I can listen to these 15 minutes of the CD anytime.
You can also view same title on the DVD Kiri Te Kanawa -Home & Afar (NTSC) or the same new DVD release (2009) Kiri Te Kanawa - In Concert (NTSC).
This CD is Sir Colin Davis' & Dame Kiri Te Kanawa's masterpiece.
I am surprised there is only one written review of it yet. I felt compelled make it two.
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on 10 October 2014
Those among us who remember the cassette deck with fondness - `Normal - Chrome - Metal' - will recall a dial called Tone. It spontaneously comes to mind whenever I listen to this disc. I so want to crank it up.

Kiri Te Kanawa is flat in Exsultate Jubilate - not of pitch but of tone. She's more vertically challenged than a pancake. It's a mystery. It surely cannot have been nerves as she was no novice at the time. Perhaps she had just flown in from New Zealand or had supped at the Restaurant of the Brown Death. It goes to show that great artists are not robots; Kiri is entitled to an off day but I do not understand why her interpretation has attracted such plaudits. By contrast, Mathis and Ameling devour this showpiece with an evanescence that is manifestly lacking in this performance (Mozart: Kronungmesse / Spatzenmesse / Ave Verum Corpus / Exsultate, Jubilate &Mozart: Exsultate Jubilate)

Sir Colin Davis is the star of this disc. He imbues Ave Verum Corpus & Exsultate Jubilate with intensity - just listen to the strings at `de Maria Virgine' or the cello-line in the orchestral prelude to Tu Virginum Corona. The Vespers are despatched with flair and reverence (Kiri is Kiri in the Laudate Dominum). The great Kyrie in D Minor is stupendously performed (and what a work it is - one is tempted to say that we don't need the manuscript to surface in order to ascribe it to late Mozart).

The recording from 1971 is hoary. A remastering would most welcome. Shortcomings aside, this disc is indispensable.
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on 26 March 2013
My most cherished album. I play it at least once a week for years and years now. Makes you happy to be human.
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on 19 January 2014
It is one of the most uplifting & beautiful pieces of music ever written & what a voice, I don't think singers are trained as they used to be & rely too much on HD & all that goes with it.
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on 30 October 2014
A replacement purchase as my old cassette version is not well and suffering from old age! Beautiful tone, strength and overall sound on well known Mozart repertoire.
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on 1 February 2017
Great value. Enjoyable recording.
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