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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66849
Recording details: November 2003
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: February 2004
Total duration: 29 minutes 11 seconds

'for King's sterling service to the Vivaldian cause, one of his most important recording and satisfying projects to date, I am thankful' (Gramophone)

'This final disc in Robert King's justly acclaimed complete edition of Vivaldi's sacred music is the project's crowning glory' (The Daily Telegraph)

'With Robert King, there is never a question about technical polish or keen musicianship. These are stunning performances … I would not hesitate to recommend the present disc to anyone looking for a recording of THE Gloria, both for the quality of this performance and because of the accompanying pieces, which surely must fascinate any listener with an interest in Vivaldi's most famous sacred work' (American Record Guide)

'The accomplished, precise and colourful orchestra is led by the ever vigourous and sensitive King, and the technically irreproachable and spot-on choir with its formidable bass section … is especially noteworthy' (Gramophone Early Music)

'So we have reached the end of a long, immensely rewarding trail. Brilliant, invigorating, uplifting, King's sacred music intégrale shines like a beacon in a dark world that has largely lost the ability to engage with spiritual celebration. More prosaically, it now becomes the core reference archive for Vivaldi's sacred music, a skilfully planned, superlatively engineered set of discs that will take an honoured place in recording history … as we know, there are many different ways of interpreting this repertoire, but Robert King seems to have one of the best grips on it yet by way of his energetic and unmannered view. The agile and responsive soloists, the alert and nimble chorus, and the disciplined and finely honed orchestra are all right on the mark, never wavering in either proficiency or commitment. This is a real winner, and a shoo-in for our Classical Hall of Fame' (Fanfare, USA)

Gloria, RV589
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Is there anything new to say about this favourite work of choral societies, which, ever since Alfredo Casella revealed it to the world in the Vivaldi ‘week’ held at Siena in 1939, has been revered as a locus classicus of its composer’s style? The audacious simplicity of the pounding unison octaves with which it opens is as eloquent and dynamic as anything in Vivaldi’s concertos, and the siciliana-like movement for soprano, obbligato instrument (the composer allows the alternative of oboe or violin) and continuo on the text ‘Domine Deus, rex coelestis’ is the epitome of melting Vivaldian lyricism. Strange to say, it is difficult to establish a context for its composition. It was apparently written for performance at the Pietà around 1715, but the autograph manuscript hints at the existence of one or more prior versions. As a repertory piece, endlessly repeated at the Pietà, this Gloria may have had a complex gestation. Moreover, its relationship to the ‘other’ Gloria, RV588, which it parallels in many respects (notably, in the ‘profile’ of its individual movements), defies a simple explanation. Perhaps the two works matured in parallel, each continuously evolving.

RV589 typifies what the Pietà understood as a concertato setting of a long liturgical text. Each sentence or comparable unit generates a separate musical movement, and the movements are differentiated among themselves to the maximum extent in scoring, tonality, metre, tempo, style, texture and mood. Some movements employ solo voices, alone or in small groups, while others (in particular, the movements framing the work) employ choir. Rather exceptionally for Vivaldi, one movement of the present Gloria, the ‘Domine Deus, agnus Dei’, features both a solo singer (mezzo soprano) and the choir, which are treated in responsorial style. Generally speaking, however, Vivaldi and his north Italian contemporaries liked to segregate solo and choral singing in separate movements.

The rousing opening movement, ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo’, is not mere ‘noise and thunder’; in the middle of it Vivaldi embarks on a bold tonal excursion that takes him as far as C sharp minor, a key rather remote from the initial D major. But how deftly the composer finds his way back to the tonic! Sophisticated handling of key change rises to new heights in the long, complex and emotionally harrowing second movement, ‘Et in terra pax’. What Vivaldi expresses here is not peace already achieved but peace desperately sought amid the troubles of the world. This would be the movement with which to convince a sceptic that, for all his outward wordliness, the composer was at heart – if only via music – a deeply spiritual person. Incredibly, Vivaldi originally ended this B minor movement with a major chord (a tierce de Picardie), before very wisely thinking better of the idea.

There follow a delightful duet for sopranos (‘Laudamus te’), a sombre chorus in the stile antico (‘Gratias agimus tibi’), the ‘Domine Deus, rex coelestis’ mentioned earlier, a captivating chorus in dotted, or ‘French’, rhythm (‘Domine Fili unigenite’), a pensive dialogue for contralto and chorus (‘Domine Deus, agnus Dei’), another sombre chorus (‘Qui tollis’), and a ‘church aria’ for contralto (‘Qui sedes’) heralding the return of the opening material. This duly arrives in the ‘Quoniam’ chorus, which is a simplified (non-modulating) version of the opening movement. The scene is set for the final fugue, which (as in RV588) is an adaptation of its counterpart in a Gloria dated 1708 by Giovanni Maria Ruggieri, of which more later.

from notes by Michael Talbot © 2004

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)  
'The King's Consort Collection' (KING7)
The King's Consort Collection
MP3 £4.50FLAC £4.50ALAC £4.50 KING7  Super-budget price sampler — Deleted  
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