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Mozart Unknown Arias for Soprano

Cor Sincerum; Jesu, Amor meus; Mens sancta deo; Jesu dulcis memoria; Offertorium "Salve Regina"; Domine deus salutis meae; Plasmator deus; Die Hoffnung dient zum Stabe
Helen Donath with Suk Chamber Orchestra/Klaus Donath
Soloists: Dieter Klöcker (clarinet), Josef Suk(violin), Karl-Otto Hartmann (bassoon)

ARTS ARCHIVES 43012-2 [TT 62 mins; re-issue; original recording June 1987]
Price: 15,00 €

A pleasing reissue, but hampered by economies. The original notes recommend the recording as an antidote to a suggestion that Mozart performances should be banned for twenty years. (I expect there was some Mozart centenary or whatever to fear then, as now this year?) This week I heard a Mozart joke; a suggestion that 2006 should have been deemed a "Mozart free" year dismissed in shock by the Austrian Cultural Forum saying they couldn't afford to pay for all the free performances to which listeners would flock...

This is in fact a charming collection of religious arias with obbligato instruments, clarinet, violin and bassoon (some of them recycled from more familiar ones) of a kind of work that was very popular throughout the lifetime of the composer. The writer Dieter Klocker found a large collection of them in libraries in Eastern Europe, the majority with clarinet. They appeared to have been used on Church high-feasts and many are "almost secular-sounding concertante pieces". Klocker accepted that some had dubious authenticity and he was then, in the mid-80s, anticipating that the musicologists would sort it out; surely theyd've done so by now? It is a pity Arts Archive didn't update their liner note, which is, anyhow, rather hard to read and to navigate. Nor does the track list even indicate which soloist is taking part in which aria.

Those cavills apart, it all makes for delightful listening, especially to Helen Donath in superb voice, supported by fine solo instrumentalists. At re-issue price (15) it will give great pleasure; recommended as something different to add to your Mozart collection for Mozart’s 250th birthday.

© Peter Grahame Woolf