W.A. Mozart: Coronation Mass, Ave Verum Corpus & Solemn Vespers of the Confessor
Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum, cond. Benjamin Nicholas;
Charivari Agréable Simfonie, dir. Kah-Ming Ng
Delphian Records DCD34102
The Financial Times
The attraction of this CD lies partly in the combination of three of Mozart's most sublime sacred works...and partly in the innocent sound of the trebles of Tewkesbury Abbey, one of whom sings the soprano solos in the Mass. Charivari Agréable, a lively period instrument ensemble, is another plus: there's none of the overweening solemnity that often belabours this music.
Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum's solo treble, Laurence Kilsby, has a mature voice with a hint of quasi-operatic 'wobble'; he combines well with the adult soloists. The choir are full of the abandon of this delicious music and the small-scale period-instrument band Charivari Agreable accompany most agreeably (fantastic gunshot timps!)…The comprehensive and charming packaging puts the Tewkesbury lads centre stage, which is precisely where they should be.
International Record Review
Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum is joined here by the excellent period-instrument ensemble Charivari Agréable. Many a fine boys' choir Mozart performance from the Continent, eg. the Vienna Boys' Choir, is marred by the use of indifferent orchestras using modern instruments. The festive impact of period brass and timpani cannot be matched by their modern counterparts, and those of Charivari Agréable are especially rich and incisive. The timpanist Steffan Jones punctuates the 'Coronation' Mass and some of the psalms of the Vespers with sometimes quite startling thwacks, making for most enlivening listening. The oboes and bassoon, which have that ingratiating warmth that only original instruments and copies possess, are unusually audible, revealing how interesting and melodically developed is Mozart's writing for them. As Charivari Agréable specializes in Baroque music and I have not heard these players in music from the Classical era before, I wondered how their string tone would suit the different idiom. In fact, the tone is just right, sounding neither too Baroque nor too Romantic – not just Classical in timbre but somehow Austrian Classical. Listening to them in these works, one can just imagine them possping up to the Prince-Archbishop's palace after High Mass to play some diverting ländlers while he lunches.