Musica Florea, Marek Štryncl
Supraphon SU 4209-2
Musica Florea is one of several Czech groups who have done fantastic work in resurrecting important works by their forebears. Here they pair one of Zach’s recognised masterpieces, a Requiem in C minor dating from around 1740, with a contemporaneous Marian Vespers set (lacking on psalm and a hymn), the latter as a world premiere recording. Štryncl does an excellent job of pacing this cleverly written music to get the best effect from it. His soloists are not always on top of the music; soprano Michaela Šrůmová has just too much bloom on her voice (especially in ensemble), and the poor tenor, Čeněk Svoboda, has a beautiful voice but he really struggles with some horrendously difficult coloratura in Zach’s Laetatus sum. That said, there is much to enjoy from both of them and the other soloists, alto Sylva Čmugrová and bass Jaromir Nosek, as well as from the choir (6455) and the excellently balanced orchestra. Even despite these slight blemishes, I found myself returning to this recording many times – Zach combines the harmonic daring of Zelenka with the almost rococo energy of Hasse. And I should have mentioned before that it is a live recording, so allowances must be made. I certainly hope to hear more of Zach’s choral music in the future.