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(Opmerking vooraf:

Daar waar het gaat over Václav Luks is het de dirigent die is te zien is in de YouTubefilm op de agenda-pagina) (KvS)


Jan Dismas Zelenka’s sacred music written for the Catholic Hofkapelle at Dresden has been well served by several fine discs in recent years, and the Czech group Collegium 1704 here provide another sample of the Bohemian composer’s fine output.

An ideal scholarly commentary by Janice B Stockigt explains that the Missa Votiva was written in 1739 after the 60-year-old Zelenka recovered from a serious illness. It is one of his most extensive Masses, and this full-blooded performance reveals that the music is typically rich, dramatic, fervent and occasionally idiosyncratic.

The bold opening “Kyrie” is firmly declaimed by Collegium 1704, which sets the tone for most of what follows: orchestral playing is highly animated, with particularly prominent oboes, and choral singing is committed.

The scampering ritornello of the “Gloria” is excellently played, but Václav Luks’s fast tempo means that the spirited choral and lean solo-voice passages are unpolished (the sonorous “Credo” is better balanced).

Luks’s pacing of the tutti sections of “Gratias agimus tibi” is ideally solemn, whereas throbbing dissonances in “Qui sedes ad dexteram” are at first overwhelming (these become gentler and more communicative after the movement settles down).

The demanding tenor aria “Quoniam” is fluently sung by Tomáš Kořínek. The warmly reverberant acoustic gives proceedings an opulent sound, although Hana Blažíková’s attractive solo singing in “Qui tollis” gets a little bit lost among the robust oboes and dynamic strings. Markéta Cukrová performs “Et incarnatus est” with notable tenderness (Zelenka’s instruction to use muted strings makes a lovely effect).

The radiant “Benedictus” seems to join the dots between Bach and Haydn, and is sympathetically sung by Stanislava Mihalcová. This good performance might not make any converts to Zelenka’s daring and expressive music, but existing fans will find plenty to enjoy.