Vivaldi wrote the Laudate Dominum, RV606, a concise but powerful single-movement setting of Psalm 116 (117 in Protestant bibles) for choir and strings, in his ‘first’ period at the Pietà. Having only two verses, plus the mandatory Lesser Doxology, the Psalm could hardly have been treated otherwise (it is the Psalms with around ten verses that make the best candidates for multi-movement treatment). Vivaldi concentrates melodic and rhythmic interest in the part for unison violins, treating the choir as a kind of ‘texted continuo’. This violin part is based on a short, arching motive that in some shape or form reappears once or twice in literally every bar. Half-way through, the composer produces a masterstroke, illustrating the word ‘misericordia’ (mercy) with a surging progression in sustained notes that takes the music momentarily into the distant region of B flat minor (the home key is D minor).
from notes by Michael Talbot © 2000