Johann Simon Mayr: Venetian Solo Motets

Pink chrysanthemum

Andrea Lauren-Brown soprano, Markus Schäfer tenor, Virgil Mischok bass, I Virtuosi Italiani, Franz Hauk
Naxos 8.573811

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen Clifford and I started Early Music Review, we always said we would review HIP CDs and others that featured world premiere recordings; all eight tracks – of repertoire dating from 1791 to c. 1802 – on this CD are just that, and (in some respects, despite myself) I enjoyed the experience of hearing them. Mayr is better known these days as an opera composer and these four Marian antiphon settings (no fewer than three Salve Reginas!), three multi-movement motets and a 12-minute dramatic Italian piece confirm his gift for both capturing the mood of words and writing for the voice. The six of the eight works are for soprano (one Salve Regina  is a duet with bass), while the Salve Regina  in B flat and the Italian piece (Qual colpa eterno Dio) are for tenor. The booklet notes contain a wealth of information about the sources and lament the lack of a comprehensive study of this aspect of Mayr’s output; on the basis of this recording, that would seem a fair assessment. Indeed, perhaps some HIPsters would like to explore the four oratorios he wrote for the Mendicanti in Venice?

Brian Clark

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