The first release in a new partnership between Classical Opera and Signum Records begins with Mozart’s remarkable sacred singspiel Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots, composed when he was just eleven. The music is full of tender beauty, dynamism and descriptive flair, and the young composer’s innate sense of understanding and sympathy for the human condition already shines through.
The story follows the efforts of The Spirit of Christianity (Andrew Kennedy) – aided by Divine Justice (Cora Burggraaf ) and Divine Mercy (Sarah Fox) – to win back the heart of a Lapsed Christian (Allan Clayton) as he lies fast asleep. In opposition to this however stands The Spirit of Worldliness (Sophie Bevan), who urges the Christian to forget what The Spirit shows him and to follow her pleasure-seeking philosophies. As Justice and Mercy withdraw to observe, The Spirit of Christianity seeks to win back the lapsed Christian, but will this lost soul be able to resist the temptations of indulgence and short-term satisfaction that Worldliness offers?
After listening to this recording of such a rarity, I began to wonder whether this work has ever had a finer performance than this one. We’ll never know what Mozart’s original team sounded like, but he’d have been lucky to have assembled a team as skilful, well balanced and neatly contrasted as this one – MusicWeb International