Antonio Vivaldi: Gloria
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Award winning, world renowned conductor, Rinaldo Alessandrini with his stunning period-instrument ensemble, Concerto Italiano - about to celebrate its 25th anniversary - perform two Glorias by Vivaldi. It's their first major release for the Vivaldi Edition since 2004.
The all-star soloist line-up is headed by contralto Sara Mingardo, "one of the richest voices before the public today" (Gramophone, July 2009). Don't miss the stunning "Domine Deus Agnus Dei" from Gloria RV589. The recording presents two major sacred works by Vivaldi: the celebrated Gloria RV589 and the much rarer RV588. The recording also features a work recorded only four times in recording history: the 'Ostro Picta' introduction, that Rinaldo has chosen to associate with the Gloria RV589.
Sara Mingardo (contralto), Concerto Italiano, Rinaldo Alessandrini (conductor)
We’re in the midst of a Vivaldian revolution at the moment. The Vivaldi Edition, a recording venture set up in 2000, is in full swing – the plan is to record the complete collection of Vivaldi manuscripts housed by the university Library in Turin by 2015. They’re about halfway through the 450 works, many of which haven’t been performed since the 18th century.
This album is part of the project, and features two Vivaldi Glorias, plus an introductory motet. RV589 is so well known that it tends to be called ‘the’ Vivaldi Gloria; RV588, on the other hand, is rarely performed. They were composed around the same time in the early 1700s, which was a fascinating time for sacred music. With the opera genre flourishing, audiences were beginning to expect church music to live up to the expressive, theatrical music they heard at the opera house – no more plainchant or unaccompanied polyphony. These Glorias neatly reflect the change in style.
The introductory motet, Ostro Picta, has only been recorded four times before. With two superb arias by Monica Piccinini, it’s a cheery, zesty appetiser-of-sorts to Gloria RV589, which immediately follows. This version is very speedy – Alessandrini’s trademark style – but, I think, wonderful for it. The highlight of the whole disc is the famous opening Gloria in Excelsis Deo, performed at high-octane speed. Too often this work can descend into dull turgidity – here it crackles with excitement and tension throughout.
Gloria RV588 is a very different work. It’s less theatrical, and for that reason it’s likely to have been written earlier than RV589; it’s also, sadly, rather less interesting. However, the performance is an even and expressive one – it runs at a cracking pace, too – and worth listening to alone for solos by Sara Mingardo, whose rich yet light voice is perfect for this music.
Vivaldi is, to coin a phrase, like soufflé – easily too light, or too stodgy, and either way falling completely flat. This album happily avoids such pitfalls, with a performance that celebrates the rich drama and excitement of Vivaldi while maintaining a lightness of touch throughout. In short, this is Vivaldi as it should be. --Katie Greening
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Top Customer Reviews
But the real reason for buying this disc is the performance of the second of Vivaldi's Glorias, designated RV 588. And that's because Sara Mingardo, surely one of the most talented of any current coloratura contraltos, sings in four of its solo movements. Her chocolate-syrup voice is perfect for this music. This is not to say that the orchestra, chorus and other soloists don't do a marvelous job; they do. But it is Mingardo's contribution that makes this performance really stand out.
A strong recommendation.
Contralto Sara Mingardo is just marvellous here - always outstanding but here something else. Though she gets sole billing on the case, there are other excellent soloists here including sopranos Monica Piccinini who delivers the "Ostro picta" motet, Anna Simboli, Alena Dantcheva (hear an excellent duet between these two in the RV589 "Laudamus te") and Lia Serafini. Chorus and orchestra are to the same standard, and the sound quality is wonderful. I can't believe that there any any better recordings of these pieces around.
Notes in French, English & Italian. Latin texts given with French & English translations.
The informative booklet notes makes the point that, in Vivaldi's time, religious works were only differentiated from operatic works by using a Latin, that is religious, text. The other musical elements such as drama and display were very similar and it was expected that visiting performers of operatic repute would be given ample opportunity to demonstrate their virtuosity within religious works.
In this case there are two singers of considerable note who are highlighted. Those are the soprano Monica Piccini who is featured in the more regularly performed Gloria RV 589 and its introductory two arias and recitative. This latter trio of pieces leads without a break into the Gloria. The other featured soloist is the contralto Sara Mingardo who is mostly featured in the earlier and less well known Gloria RV588 plus the introductory solo.
Of the two Glorias, the second is more outgoing with more opportunities for display both vocally and instrumentally. The earlier Gloria is a more subdued piece, relatively speaking. On this disc they both receive fleet performances of verve and excitement. Although it will be the second Gloria that most listeners will be familiar with, all the rest of the music on the disc is well worth hearing and will give pleasure, particularly when heard in such skilled and distinguished performances as these.
I would suggest that this disc will appeal to any collectors who enjoy the usual Gloria and, given the exhilarating approach to the works, this disc may also astound those who are more used to more sedate pacing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Vivaldi's Gloria beautifully sung. I first heard one piece played on the radio, and had a dickens of a job tracking down this particular copy. Looked no further than Amazon.Published on 27 Dec. 2013 by Blue and white
Fantastic recording by Rinaldo Alessandrini. Amazing drive and musicality!
When I'm down I listen to this and the world becomes bright again.