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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66819
Recording details: July 2000
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: August 2001
Total duration: 28 minutes 5 seconds

'A superb release of little-heard Vivaldi … Volume 6 of this series was a Gramophone Award nominee this year and I see no possible reason why this one shouldn't be too: it contains some very fine and largely unfamiliar music in splendid performances' (Gramophone)

'Quite frankly, this is the kind of disc that wins awards. Yet again, it’s congratulations to Hyperion. If you haven’t yet sampled this series, start here' (Early Music Review)

'One of the most rewarding discs in this splendid series to date' (International Record Review)

'Get this new volume at once, work your way backwards and acquire the earlier volumes, and pray that this series continues for many years' (Goldberg)

'Vivid, vigorous and immaculate accounts. Stutzmann’s unique voice quite fabulous in the Vestro Principi … superb choral singing, all perfectly balanced by the engineers' (Yorkshire Post)

Gloria in excelsis Deo, RV588
composer
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Vivaldi enthusiasts tend to become annoyed when RV589 is referred to as ‘the’ Vivaldi Gloria, because there survive two settings from the master’s pen: the well-known setting and this almost equally fine but much less frequently performed setting in the same key (D major), scored for almost the same forces (RV588 requires an extra oboe and a tenor soloist). The similarities go much deeper, since both works come from Vivaldi’s early period around 1715, divide up the movements in an almost identical way, and employ as their final movement an arrangement (different in each case) of the same movement in a setting of the Gloria for two choirs by a slightly older composer active in Venice, Giovanni Maria Ruggieri. This setting, dated 1708, is among the manuscripts of sacred music by other composers that once belonged to the composer’s own collection, many items in which must have passed to him via his father.

The chronology of the two settings is disputed by scholars. Both manuscripts show clear evidence of reworking, probably over a period of several years. One thing is certain, however: whichever of the two was written first served as the model for the second. The two versions may have coexisted in the repertory of the Pietà for several years.

RV588 possesses a very unusual feature that may provide a reason for the slowness of its revival. Not only does it have a designated introductory motet (introduzione) for solo contralto, but this motet is actually dovetailed into it in an ingenious and radical way. The second and final aria of Jubilate, o amoeni chori is united in a single movement with the opening chorus of the Gloria. The celebratory text of the introduzione, paraphrasing Psalm 150, is non-specific enough to be suitable for any feast. The second aria invokes the sound of plucked (citharae) and bowed (lirae) stringed instruments, wind instruments (fistulae) and the organ (organa). Ostensibly praising God, it reminds the congregation of the virtuosity of the Pietà’s instrumentalists. Obligingly, the orchestra provides little touches of illustrative colour, the most conspicuous of which is a five-bar solo for obbligato organ.

Vivaldi reckoned with occasions on which the introduzione would be omitted. Crosses in his autograph score in Turin tell the copyist of the separate parts which passages of the third movement to leave out if the Gloria is to be performed ‘neat’. Leaving out the solo portions makes the movement too short, however, and this brutal solution is rarely adopted. Later in the decade Vivaldi wrote out a slightly modified vocal part for the introduzione, notating it in the soprano instead of the alto clef, even though the compass hardly changed. His purpose in preparing this new version (RV639a) seems merely to have been to make the part accessible to a singer more accustomed to read from the other clef.

The most impressive choral movement of RV588 is its second, ‘Et in terra pax’, an unhurried, chromatically-inflected chorus in B minor very similar in mood to its counterpart in RV589. Also worthy of mention are the short ‘Gratias agimus tibi’, with a startling enharmonic change in its second bar, the severe ‘Domine Fili unigenite’, which is possibly a borrowing from an older composer, the ‘Domine Deus, agnus Dei’, with its oboe obbligato, and the ‘Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris’, an aria for contralto in which a pair of solo violas accompanies a pair of solo violins in a chamber texture reminiscent of Mozart’s string quintets.

from notes by Michael Talbot © 2001

Other albums featuring this work
'Vivaldi: The Complete Sacred Music' (CDS44171/81)
Vivaldi: The Complete Sacred Music
MP3 £35.00FLAC £35.00ALAC £35.00Buy by post £40.00 CDS44171/81  11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
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