Capella Regia Musicalis / Robert Hugo
Jakub Jan Ryba (1765 - 1815): Rozmily Slavicku / Libou Pisnicku / Jak Mile Rozkosne / Ceska Mse Vanocni
Wholenote Discoveries - December 2009
This performance of the Czech Christmas Mass features mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena in a re-release of a 1998 recording. Ryba (affectionately known as "Hey, Mister" after the mass' opening line) wrote this Czech language masterwork in 1796. A holiday tradition to this day, the charming sound is so very much in the style of the music of the time. The childlike innocence that we all associate with Christmas is perfectly captured in both words and music as the humour and loving story of Czech shepherds at the manger unfolds. Great performances by the Capella Regia Musicalis under Robert Hugo too. Tiina Kiik
This is the first international release of a 1998 recording of a long forgotten Christmas gem! Magdalena Kozena certainly varies her CDs, that much is sure. She followed up a recording of Handel with a disc of Czech folksong setting, and then followed that with a CD of Vivaldi arias. She has now gone back to Czech with a recording of the very rare, but exquisitely charming Czech Christmas Mass by Jakub Jan Ryba. Don't be sad if you don'y know the name Ryba, as many people don't, but this rceording is sure to give him a bit more recognition. Ryba was a contemporary of Mozart, and one of the first Czech composers to us the Czech language in his compositions rather than German (as was the style of the time). His pioneering nature might also have proved detrimental as history may have given this work a more favourable treatment had it been in the more accessible language. The music however, cannot be disputed. The mass itself is for choir, four soloists, and a 'Mozart' orchestra. This work is simple, beautiful, and very relaxing. It is a gorgeous mass. Also included on here are three Christmas Pastorellas for female voice and orchestra, also by Ryba. Kozena sings these with such ease and vocal refinement. This disc was more than a pleasant surprise!