There is absolutely nothing to fault in the musicianship of this performance of the Vespers by Concerto Italiano. Every one of the eleven singers delivers beautiful tone, sparkling style, and tight ensemble. Likewise the corps of instruments - cornetti, tromboni, flauti, strings, tiorba, arciliuto, and organo - is flawless in intonation and timbre. My ears tell me that conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini has given his cornetti, led by Doron Sherwin, unusual freedom to improvise ornamentation; at least I hear some licks that I don't recall from other performances.
It's the most subtle level of interpretation that I find a wanting in Alessandrini's Vespers. The whole performance seems vaguely neutral to me, and being neutral, Alessandrini has difficulty convincing my ears of the unity of the whole 2-CD affair. In comparison, the performance by Les Arts Florissants, led by William Christie, offers a thoroughly majestic, triumphant interpretation. Christie takes slightly more stately tempi and uses choral forces and extra instruments, but the key difference is in the conducting. At the other end of the interpretational spectrum, the recording by Tragicomedia under Stephen Stubbs is jubilant and amorous. Tragicomedia performs strictly one-on-a-part, and Stubbs takes brighter tempi in almost every section than either Christie or Alessandrini. Stubbs's conducting is more incisive rhythmically and he handles the triple rhythms more joyfully, a la ritornello. Both Christie and Stubbs get more definition from their continuo players, especially from the organs, emphasizing the structure of the music in three layers - voices, obbligato instruments, and continuous bass. As befits their different intentions, Christie's basso continuo is continuously robust (especially the dulcian) while Stubbs's is playful, even lilting at times. By the way, the Stubbs performance is a half step higher in pitch than either Alessandrini's or Christie's; the higher pitch would have been historically appropriate.
There you have it: Christie more spacious and magificent, Stubbs more intimate and lyrical, with Alessandrini between. IMHO of course, and nothing more.
WAIT! Several weeks later! I've listened to the Concerto Italiano performance again, twice straight in fact. I must have had wax in my ears the first time. I totally under-rated it, especially the flamboyant affect of the singing. Very Italian! I don't mean to downgrade the Christie or Stubbs recordings, just to boost Alessandrini to the apex of the triangle, chiefly for pure sonority and for amazing detail.