Magazine article Gramophone

Recital: Winner Mozart the Weber Sisters'

Magazine article Gramophone

Recital: Winner Mozart the Weber Sisters'

Article excerpt

When Mozart first encountered the Weber sisters he wrote to his father: 'I have become so fond of this unfortunate family that my dearest wish is to make them happy'. He was to be inspired by them and infatuated. They would provide him trusted interpreters as singers and his future extended family and wife. No wonder that the first meeting made such an impact.

What an extraordinary range of music he composed for them. The programme for this highly entertaining Erato disc embraces so much--storming showpieces and slight ditties, arias sacred and operatic, at one moment firing off stratospheric vocal pyrotechnics, at the next confiding tender caresses. For Aloysia he wrote not only the hair-raising Popoli di Tessaglia with its high G up in the leger lines, but also the melting Nehmt meinen Dank. For Josepha, the first Queen of the Night, there was 'Der Holle Rache'; for Constanze, his wife, the sublime 'Et incarnatus est' from the C minor Mass as well as an everyday singing exercise.

Of course, none of it would be half as enjoyable if the performances were not so completely persuasive. Sabine Devieilhe is like a modern-day equivalent of all the Weber sisters rolled into one. Her versatile soprano is at once flexible and lyrical, agile and lofty in its reach, light of touch but with some depth in its sweetness of tone. …

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