Album: Magdalena KoZenA, Ryba: Czech Christmas Mass (Deutsche Grammophon)

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The Independent Culture

Despite being born into the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the 18th-century composer Jakub Jan Ryba insisted on using his native tongue in his pieces, rather than the state's official German – hence the subsequent adoption of his Christmas Mass as an annual signifier of Czech nationalism.

Boasting a directness and harmonic simplicity in which can be glimpsed echoes of Haydn and Mozart, it is delivered here by Magdalena Kozená and her three fellow singers with a folksy approach. Accompanied by the early-music ensemble Capella Regia Musicalis, the result is an engaging Mass of considerable charm.

Download this Czech Christmas Mass