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The first release in a new partnership between Classical Opera and Signum Records begins with Mozart's remarkable sacred singspiel, composed when he was just 11.
The story follows the efforts of The Spirit of Christianity (Andrew Kennedy) – aided by Divine Justice (Cora Burggraaf) and Divine Mercy (Sarah Fox) – to win back the heart of a lapsed Christian (Allan Clayton) as he lies fast asleep. In opposition to these efforts however stands The Spirit of Worldliness (Sophie Bevan), who urges the Christian to forget what The Spirit shows him and to follow her pleasure-seeking philosophies. As Justice and Mercy withdraw to observe, The Spirit of Christianity seeks to win back the lapsed Christian, but will this lost soul be able to resist the temptations of indulgence and short-term satisfaction that Worldliness offers?
September’s release of 'Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots' is the second in Classical Opera’s ambitious 20-volume series (following the release of 'Apollo et Hyacinthus' on Linn Records last year) with plans to release one Mozart opera and one further disc a year on Signum.
Next in the series is a new recording of 'Mitridate', due for release in autumn 2014, featuring Miah Persson, Sophie Bevan, Andrew Kennedy and Robert Murray under the baton of Ian Page.
The second disc in this 2CD set is an Enhanced CD, featuring an exclusive 10-minute feature on the making of the recording. The booklet includes full texts and translations of the libretto.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots, K. 35
Recitative, “Die löblich’ und gerechte Bitte” (Gerechtigkeit, Christgeist, Barmherzigkeit)
No. 1, Aria, “Mit Jammer muß ich schauen” (Christgeist)
“The piece is performance to a high standard, with tenors Andrew Kennedy and Allan Clayton making the most of the Spirit of Christianity and the Half-Hearten Christian respectively. Soprano Sophie Bevan suggests all the pleasures of Worldliness, and soprano Sarah Fox exemplifies a compassionate Divine Mercy.”
“Page and the Orchestra of Classical Opera have an unerring knack for making the most out of the young Mozart's characterful music...tenors Andrew Kennedy and Allan Clayton sing with an ideal synthesis of muscular directness and Mozartian elegance...[Worldliness's arias] are both sung with mischievous elan by Sophie Bevan.”
27th November 2013
“the relatively small orchestra, clear textures and buoyant pacing convinces the listener that this is no dull oratorio but a genuinely dramatic work...The whole cast are admirable...All sing with clarity and freshness, similar virtues to those displayed by the orchestra, and Ian Page’s pacing is unerringly convincing.”
“The orchestration is already of interest, particularly the accompanied recitatives which have a vitality and dramatic urgency that help imbue some life into the work. But the arias are weaker affairs...Page conducts the Orchestra of Classical Opera and makes as persuasive a case as possible.”