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GRAMOPHONE (08/2014)
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Reviewer: David Vickers


Zelenka’s reputation has been considerably rehabilitated, not least thanks to Václav Luks and Collegium 1704. This time they explore some of the obscurest nooks and crannies of their compatriot’s stile antico church music, probably written for the Catholic court chapel at Dresden. Three of his 10 settings of the Marian text Sub tuum praesidium are interspersed with premiere recordings of Mass movements, but these pieces in a deliberately antique style are only part of a broader programme that presents music by two more Bohemian disciples of the influential theorist, composer and teacher Fux.


A pair of violins provides a pleasing contrast of texture and mood for a trio sonata by Johann Georg Orschler (1698c1770) but the most substantial piece is a setting of the Stabat mater by Franti≈ek Ignác Antonín T≤ma (1704-74), set in G minor for four voices and basso continuo; Collegium Vocale 1704’s single voices create a plangently gorgeous and sensitively articulated performance, which comes as no surprise when the vocal ensemble includes experienced soprano Hana BlaΩíková and bass Tomá≈ Král. The elements of ‘choral’ lamentation, surprisingly galant passages and solemn fugues are revealed beautifully and accompanied with tastefulness by a continuo group that varies its colours unobtrusively.

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