JOAN COXON (Soprano)
SUMNER AUSTIN (Baritone)
THE B.B.C. ORCHESTRA
Conducted by WARWICK BRAITHWAITE
IN the late summer of 1791, when Mozart was hard at work on the music of The Magic
Flute, and after he had begun the Requiem commissioned by the mysterious strangertwhose appearance is probably the best-known incident in his career, the overworked composer was begged to go to Prague and compose an opera specially for the Coronation festivities of Leopold II on September 6. The libretto chosen was one on the subject of the Emperor Titus, thought to be appropriate to the occasion, but it makes a poor operatic story, and the work has never been popular like Figaro or Don Giovanni. None the less, it holds much beautiful music in Mozart's very best vein. It has all the dignity which the imperial subject demands, as well as the brightness appropriate to a festival, and, it is full of smooth-flowing, gracious melody.
MOZART has himself left it on M record, in one of his letters, that the subject of this opera delighted him whenever he saw it. Ho says: 'In tho Overture, the chorus in the first act, and the last chorus of the whole thing, I shall work in Turkish music. 1 am so delighted at having it to compose, that the first songs and terzet in the first act are already finished.' The original name was The Abduction from the Seraglio, and the story, adapted by Mozart himself from a play of his day, turns on the capture of a fair lady by a Turkish Bashaw and her rescue by her faithful lover. The story is treated in the merriest spirit, and Mozart's tuneful music fits it admirably. This number is sung by Constance, the imprisoned fair one, before her rescue, and tells her love for her own Belmont.
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