St. Paul's Cathedral Choir, London / Andrew Carwood / St. Paul's Mozart Orchestra

Mozart: Missa Solemnis; Vesperae de Dominica; Regina Caeli

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Conductor Andrew Carwood, better known for his association with the Renaissance vocal ensemble the Cardinall's Musick, here steps to the helm of the all-male (men and boys) St. Paul's Cathedral Choir and St. Paul's Mozart Orchestra for a program of early- and middle-period Mozart works that lie somewhere in between chestnut and obscurity status. What you get might be called English-cathedral-style Mozart, and how you'll feel about it may depend on how you feel about the classic boychoir sound in general. The album was recorded not at St. Paul's Cathedral but at the smaller St. Giles Cripplegate, and its engineering is one of its best features. The soloists and the organ, which is interpolated into the performance of the Mass in C major, K. 337 ("Missa Solemnis"), are a bit too distant, but the choir sounds like a million bucks (or pounds), with Hyperion's engineers having scored the rare hat trick of generating a spacious sound from a small group and keeping everything clear. The singing is delicate, sober, and rather quick, with little chance to luxuriate in Mozart's melodic invention. The soloists, wanly hanging out on the sharp side of the pitch, are a weak point, but the choir grows on you as you listen; for those who like a "just the notes" approach, they execute cleanly and consistently, and despite their restraint they are clearly not uninvolved in the music. Sample the little "Laudate pueri" fugue (track 15) from the Vesperae solennes de Dominca, K. 321, a polyphonic piece that benefits greatly from this kind of performance. And the use of boys on the upper parts would probably have been considered optimal by Mozart in his Salzburg years. Recommended for lovers of Mozart the English way.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Missa in C major 'Missa solemnis', K 337
1 3:14
2 3:44
3 4:14
Missa in C major 'Missa solemnis', K 337
4 5:16
5 1:58
6 3:00
7 5:47
Regina caeli, K 108
8 3:03
9 4:02
10 4:43
11 3:07
Vesperae solennes de Dominica, K 321
12 3:51
13 5:21
14 4:24
15 3:44
16 4:43
17 4:58
blue highlight denotes track pick