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As Raffaele Mellace points out in an excellent liner note, composers of the 18th century often marshalled their energies to deliver a late body of religious and liturgical work, not so much occasioned by a fear of mortality as by a desire to set down a summative testament of creative identity. Zelenka was rediscovered by Smetana, and while his instrumental output is now better known, it was as a church composer that he was known and recognised in his lifetime, even if he never achieved the high office he desired. The Mass for All Saints is a beautiful creation, strikingly rhythmic in its development (which may well have attracted Smetana to Zelenka). There are Scotch snaps – or Lombard rhythms – in the minor-key Kyrie, which has an extraordinary fugal second part, and the closing Agnus Dei is done as a chaconne, a device which will suggest to fans of so-called faith minimalism that some of their favourite contemporaries aren’t so original after all. laBarocca deliver the music with passionate reserve and immaculate control.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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