Mozart's opera La clemenza di Tito was written for the coronation of the Austrian emperor Leopold II in 1791. He was not even the first choice of the organizers, who wanted the already-booked Salieri. Clearly, they would have done better to get the cantata from Mozart as well, but this big work by Kozeluch, never recorded before, is reasonably attractive and helps the listener imagine Mozart's world. The text is about as dull as you would think. The strongest numbers are those with the soloists, helped along by a competent quartet of soloists under the direction of conductor Marek Stilec. Sample soprano Kristyna Vylicilova in the very Mozartian "Die in der Fürsten Kront." Prague's Martinu Voices are a fine small choir, but they are underpowered for this work in choral sections that were meant to fill a large space, and sound aimless in this reading. The work, however, is elegantly constructed, darkening operatically before the required triumphant finale, and the commercial success of this recording is understandable: it puts you into Mozart's world. The live recording at Prague's Church of St. Simon and Jude makes a reasonable stand-in for the large reception hall where the music would have first been performed.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Kantata zur Krönung Leopolds II, 'Heil dem Monarchen'|