Vivaldi: Sinfonie d'Opera

Vivaldi: Sinfonie d'Opera

by Stefano Molardi


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Vivaldi: Sinfonie d'Opera

The sinfonia d'opera, a short, generally self-contained instrumental work that introduced an opera or part of one, was a direct ancestor of the modern symphony. Alessandro Scarlatti codified the three-movement form that became the norm and is used in all these examples by Antonio Vivaldi (the opening Sinfonia from the opera "L'Olimpiade," which appears to have four movements in the track list, actually has two alternate finales). All three movements are typically in the same key, with perhaps a mode change for variation. Vivaldi's works in this form are usually presented together with other works, but joining them in a group makes clear that this form brought out Vivaldi's most experimental and stylistically progressive instincts. Conductor Stefano Molardi writes in his notes (in German, English, Italian, and French) that the sinfonias on the album were subjected to "rigorous" analysis of, among other things, their place in the evolution of Vivaldi's style. The pieces are not presented in chronological order, but the listener can still notice how, in the pieces from the 1720s and 1730s, the texture in the opening movements is broken up by dramatic gestures and how large-scale balancing of the weights of harmonic areas becomes progressively more important. Sample the opening Allegro of the sinfonia from "Giustino" (1724, track 8) and hear how the block of sheer tonic at the beginning requires an expansive set of dominant-to-tonic resolutions at the end. The slow movements are all characteristically imaginative. Equally important is the presence of two sinfonias not linked to operas, little milestones in the evolution of the symphony as an independent genre. All the music here is sprightly, witty, and, in the gutsy, heavily accented readings by Molardi and his group I Virtuosi delle Muse, pleasingly vigorous. The sound is designated as audiophile, and a proposed speaker layout for the buyer is even helpfully included, but the sound environment is way too live and hardly resembles what would have been heard in any heavily upholstered opera house of Vivaldi's age. Nevertheless, Vivaldi buffs will be glad to have this group of pieces together.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/25/2011
Label: Divox
UPC: 7619913705013
catalogNumber: 70501


  1. Giustino, opera in 3 acts, RV 717: Allegro
  2. Giustino, opera in 3 acts, RV 717: Andante
  3. Giustino, opera in 3 acts, RV 717: Allegro

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