Zelenka: Missa Omnium Sanctorum

Floral design

[Carlotta Colombo, Filippo Mineccia, Cyril Auvity, Lukas Deman SATB], laBarocca, Ruben Jais
50:16
Glossa GCD 924103

Most of the recordings of Zelenka’s choral music that I know have either been Czech or German. Here we have a predominantly Italian performance of the composer’s final mass setting, for the Feast of All Saints. It is absolutely packed full of everything that typifies Zelenka – cleverly constructed fugal choruses, arias that both tax the soloists by give them hugely expansive lines to relish the beauty of their own voices, dramatic harmonies that accentuate key moments in the texts and an unfailing feel for overall architecture; at the end of it all, one is exhausted and yet uplifted.

laBarroca is a new group to me. Under Jais, the 44321 strings with oboes, bassoon and one “continuo” player, they are electrifying. The energy (which anyone playing Zelenka has to bring with them!) is astonishing and the precision of the violini unisoni playing is breathtaking.

Chorus and soloists alike revel in their music, and once again it is a question of energy – this is not music for the faint-hearted! In such a bright acoustic, the radiance of the voices is especially delightful – and what voices! The soloists are all outstanding.

For decades, northern Europeans have been performing Italian music their way; it seems that Italy is ready to strike back!

Brian Clark