- Dixit Dominus (Psalm 109 "of Prague"), for 5 voices, chorus, trumpet, 2 oboes, 2 cellos, strings & continuo in D, RV 595
- Nulla in mundo pax sincera, solo motet for voice, strings & continuo in E major, RV 630
- Gloria, for 6 solo voices, chorus, trumpet, 2 oboes, 2 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, strings & continuo in D major, RV 588
Vivaldi: Dixit Dominus, RV 595; Gloria, RV 588; Nulla in mundo pax sinceraby Aradia Chorus, Kraus, Mallon
Several large projects devoted to Vivaldi's sacred music got underway in the early 2000s, and this disc, billed as volume one of a series on the Naxos label, apparently begins what is likely to become, given the completist tendencies of the label, a voluminous new one. It stands on its own just fine, however, for the general listeners who may be drawn by Naxos' budget prices. The disc presents, in a word, the "other" "Gloria (RV 588)" and the "other" "Dixit Dominus (RV 595)," works by Vivaldi that are companion pieces to his better-known settings of the same texts, the "Gloria, RV 589," and "Dixit Dominus, RV 594." If you're looking for the piece commonly called "Vivaldi's Gloria" (with its trumpet-punctuated double "Gloria!" exclamation at the beginning), it's not on this disc (as the back cover does explain). But if you like that piece and want more in the same vein, these performances by Canada's Arcadia Ensemble may be just the thing. The final section of this "Dixit Dominus," especially, is of a piece with the finale of the "Gloria, RV 589," with its use of tonally spacious polyphony to create a large-scale dramatic flourish. Irish-Canadian conductor Kevin Mallon leads a small but assertive choir, orchestra, and soloists in a crisp performance recorded in a Toronto church. This recording is available in an SACD version, but even the regular release features engineering Naxos can justifiably boast about. Text intelligibility is excellent throughout, which is a bonus in the case of "Nulla in mundo pax sincera, RV 630." Sandwiched between the two larger works, this cantata for soprano solo, strings, and continuo has an unusual devotional text that brought forth some especially florid operatic writing from Vivaldi. One might wish for a little less vibrato in this repertory from all three of the female singers involved in this recording, but soprano Jane Archibald keeps the vocal line crystal clear in the cantata and delivers plenty of excitement. The "Gloria, RV 588," comes at the end of the album, prefaced by a large introductory movement for soprano, "Jubilate, o amoeni chori, RV 639," to which it is joined in surviving manuscripts. The final "Gloria" doesn't open with a bang like its more famous cousin (the "Gloria" text comes in midway through a connecting movement, which features a punishing soprano duet), but it's a similarly splendid setting with trumpet and oboes and a big concluding fugue. The continuo is provided by an organ, which is clearly audible in this recording and adds to the grand feeling. Other recordings of these works are available, and there are a few points (like the difficult "Et in terra pax" of the "Gloria") where the choir falters. On balance, though, this disc is a logical place to go for anyone getting beneath the surface Vivaldi -- especially at its budget price.
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