Zelenka: Psalmi Vespertini I

Ensemble Inégal, Prague Baroque Soloists, Adam Viktora
79:56
Nibiru 01612231

Continuing their impressive exploration of Zelenka’s church music, Ensemble Inégal under Adam Viktora have embarked on a series devoted to his settings of Vespers psalms. Not in recreations of services as such, but grouping suitable pieces without the framework – so their is no chant, and neither an ingressus or a hymn. For the first CD, only Confitebor tibi Domine (ZWV72, and the longest work at over 16 minutes) is a world premiere recording, but there will be many more along the way. Janice Stockigt’s typically informative booklet note tells us that the music dates from late 1725 and the presence of a setting of In exitu Israel  suggests Vespers of a Confessor as the most likely original context. There are many magnificent moments, but I derived the greatest joy from the (unexpectedly French sounding) Laudate pueri Dominum, where a solo bass sings against a female angelic choir. I doubt the Dresden Kapelle had singers of such purity of voice, but I also do not think I would enjoy hearing it sung by more operatic voices! Anyone who has not heard the opening of the De Profundis  which is tagged on after the Magnificat  cannot fail to be impressed by the sonorities. This is another magnificent achievement by these Czech performers and I look forward to hearing much more of their discoveries in the years to come.

Brian Clark