Mehta began his career as a boy soprano, and by a circuitous route, is now much-admired and successful as a countertenor.
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Opera Extracts - Released November 4, 2013 | harmonia mundi
Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
The contents of this album reflect the operatic music Mozart would have known as a teenager. One of the composers, Christoph Willibald Gluck, is known as a founder of the Classical style in opera; others, including Johann Adolf Hasse, Johann Christian Bach, and Tommaso Traetta, are known mostly to specialists, at least in the operatic field. Listeners who have heard the spectacular arias of the late Baroque popularized by Renée Fleming and others will find the pieces here less virtuosic but more dramatically satisfying, as if the composers and librettists had engaged themselves anew with the ancient Greek stories they were retelling. One might object that annotator Denis Morrier gives short shift to the most important of the librettists, Pietro Metastasio, whose writings remained popular up to Beethoven's time. But the music itself here brings some real treasures: hear the compelling dialogue between Orestes and a chorus of Furies in Traetta's Ifigenia en Tauride (track 9). In general the works by Traetta, who spent part of his career in musically remote St. Petersburg, are the biggest find here, but the entire program is intelligently assembled. You can really hear the young Mozart assimilating this genre and reaching maturity there earlier than in any of his other works, first in Mitridate, rè di Ponto (1770), and then even more so in the neglected Ascanio in Alba of the following year. It's a bit odd to hear conductor René Jacobs and the Akademie für alte Musik Berlin use a fortepiano in one of the Mozart recitatives, which would have been unlikely in 1771, but the performers get the excitement of the music. The talents of American countertenor Bejun Mehta are very effectively deployed here; he won't knock you out with scales and trills, but he's dramatically effective and has a beautiful limpid tone in the slower and warmer arias. Highly recommended for anyone curious about the sources of Mozart's style or about the investigations that are slowly remaking the performance world of the 18th century in general. © TiVo
Classical - Released March 16, 2018 | PentaTone
Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
For the benefit of any Qobuz readers who might be offended that the Bach cantata Ich habe genug is sung here by a counter-tenor in the soprano register (rather than the normal bass), we want to point out two things: first, in the baroque era, music would be rewritten at the drop of a hat to fit the musicians who were available at a given time; and, secondly, this particular transposition was made by the Cantor himself! And what's more, he actually thoroughly revised two works... The short cantata Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde was for a long time attributed to Bach before credit was finally given to its author Melchior Hoffmann: but it is testament to the work's tremendous quality that the mix-up was possible: its originality certainly gives the listener pause for thought. For one thing, the aria contains a glockenspiel section! Counter-tenor Bejun Mehta continues his exploration of the world of the baroque cantata with the superb Pianti, sospiri e dimandar mercede by Vivaldi, which brims over with invention and harmonic and melodic surprises. Handel's cantatas, on the other hand, were more directly written for amateur audiences, and therefore somewhat easier musically: whereas Bach never had to worry about selling his scores, Handel was very much preoccupied by sales! Berlin's Akademie für alte Musik provides a fervent accompaniment, and without a conductor, as they know this music like the back of their hands. © SM/Qobuz
HANDEL, G.F.: If God be for us, who can be against us? / Where'er you walk / SCHUBERT, F.: Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (Mehta)
Classical - Released January 1, 1987 | Delos
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