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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66829
Recording details: September 2001
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: August 2002
Total duration: 16 minutes 36 seconds

‘Another well-executed Vivaldi disc, then, from King, who with this series is showing that his good ear for the right singer is matched by innate sympathy for the music’ (Gramophone)

'A magnificent disc' (BBC Music Magazine)

'An outstanding addition to an exciting series' (Early Music Review)

‘As always, Robert King leads vigorous and stylish period-instrument support … Hyperion’s estimable series still has quite a few volumes to go, and one can only await them eagerly’ (American Record Guide)

‘beautifully performed … It doesn’t get much better than this’ (Classic FM Magazine)

‘colorful, strongly projected performances … the new disc lives fully up to the quality of its predecessors’ (Fanfare, USA)

‘The orchestra … is admirably precise. Each of their finely chiselled notes gives substance to sacred inspiration’ (Goldberg)

‘The performers give stunning vocals … The playing of The King’s Consort is superb’ (AdLib)

‘L’orchestre est absolument superbe de précision et de raffinement, et la patte de King se fait sentir partout: on peut ainsi admirer la science du coloris et la gracieuse légèreté de touché, ou tout simplement adorer l’idée même qu’il semble se faire de la sonorité idéale, fruits et fleurs mêlés’ (Classica, France)

Salve regina, RV616
author of text
Antiphon to the Virgin Mary from Trinity until Advent

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
At a superficial glance, this setting in C minor of the Salve Regina looks like a companion piece to Vivaldi’s G minor setting, RV618. The similarities are obvious enough: a solo alto; strings divided into two cori; the presence of woodwind obbligato instruments; a six-movement structure. However, the differences are equally significant. This time, Vivaldi used, instead of a pair of oboes, a pair of instruments from the flute family (flutes or recorders).

The vocal part is both higher in register and more flamboyant than its counterpart in RV618. Unexpectedly, the singer is described as ‘la cantante’ in an instruction found in the instrumental parts: therefore, most definitely a woman. Since female participation in sacred music was very exceptional for the period, this points unambiguously to the Ospedale della Pietà as the place of performance. The problem then is that whereas various indices (paper type, the use of flute, relationship to other compositions) suggest a date of composition around 1730, this is a period when the Pietà possessed its own maestro di coro, Giovanni Porta, and thus when Vivaldi would not ordinarily have been asked to supply it with compositions of this kind. The mystery remains.

The scoring of the six movements follows a typically symmetrical pattern. The outer movements employ flutes in addition to strings. Movements 2 and 5 dispense with woodwind but are otherwise fully scored. The two inner movements both have simplified accompaniments. Movement 3, ‘Ad te suspiramus’, reduces the instruments to an obbligato flute plus the strings of the first coro, while movement 4 employs doubling very copiously to produce a lean texture.

Attentive listening will show how Vivaldi selects key words in the antiphon text as prompts for illustrative effects. For example, the second movement fixes on the word ‘clamamus’ (‘we cry out’) and accordingly engenders an urgent, breathless mood. In the third movement it is the word ‘suspiramus’ (‘we sigh’) that sets the tone, with frequent short rests representing the drawing in of breath. Perhaps the loveliest instance of word-painting occurs in the final movement, in which the exclamation ‘O’ is given special prominence, heightening the expression of adoration for the Virgin.

from notes by Michael Talbot © 2002
English: Josée Bégaud

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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