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Magnificat, RV610a

composer
c1715
author of text
Luke 1: 46-55

 
The earliest version of Vivaldi’s Magnificat in G minor was probably written for the Pietà around 1715 and is preserved in a copy made for the Cistercian monastery of Osek fairly soon afterwards. In the 1720s Vivaldi revised it, rewriting the tenor and bass parts in some places to make them more suited to male voices and adding a pair of oboes. One movement, the terzet ‘Sicut locutus est’, was considerably expanded in order to give the oboes a chance to appear as obbligato instruments. Vivaldi wrote instructions on the score of this second version (RV610) which assigned each movement to either (or both) of the cori. However, the work remains absolutely ‘monochoral’ in its musical conception and there is little to be gained in using two cori.

The Magnificat is notable for its conciseness. As it is a setting of the canticle sung at every Vesper service, it was inevitably destined to be repeated time after time, and this is perhaps the reason why Vivaldi exercised such restraint. It opens – strikingly – with the favourite chromatic passage set to the first verse. There follows an ‘aria a tre’, a movement in which the text of each of the three succeeding verses is sung by a different voice. Even the choir makes a brief appearance, repeating the alto’s ‘omnes’ (‘all’) with punning effect. This is followed by the most extended and memorable of all the movements, a chorus on the verse beginning ‘Et misericordia eius’. Here Vivaldi expresses great poignancy through chromaticism and ‘anguished’ melodic intervals such as the major seventh. The next two verses are set as a pair of choral movements: ‘Fecit potentiam’ dramatically demonstrates the Lord’s strength over a splendidly busy bass line, and the mighty are put down and the humble exalted in graphic fashion. Next, to illustrate the filling of the ‘hungry with good things’, Vivaldi inserts a charming duet for sopranos supported by a prominent ostinato figure in the bass. The ‘Suscepit Israel’ is a brief interlude, leading to the surprisingly cheerful ‘Sicut locutus est’ terzet – not quite the solemn homage to the biblical forefathers which this verse usually produces. The Doxology begins with a condensed version of the work’s opening bars (the punning possibilities of the words ‘As it was in the beginning’ are rarely overlooked!), followed by a vigorous double fugue in traditional style.

from notes by Michael Talbot 1994

Recordings

Vivaldi: Sacred Music, Vol. 1
CDA66769
Vivaldi: The Complete Sacred Music
CDS44171/8111CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
The King's Consort Baroque Collection
KING4Super-budget price sampler — Deleted

Details

Movement 1: Magnificat
Track 1 on CDA66769 [1'05]
Track 1 on CDS44171/81 CD1 [1'05] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 2: Et exsultavit
Track 2 on CDA66769 [2'09]
Track 2 on CDS44171/81 CD1 [2'09] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 3: Et misericordia
Track 3 on CDA66769 [3'10]
Track 3 on CDS44171/81 CD1 [3'10] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 4: Fecit potentiam
Track 4 on CDA66769 [0'29]
Track 4 on CDS44171/81 CD1 [0'29] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 5: Deposuit potentes
Track 5 on CDA66769 [0'55]
Track 5 on CDS44171/81 CD1 [0'55] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 6: Esurientes
Track 6 on CDA66769 [1'48]
Track 6 on CDS44171/81 CD1 [1'48] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 7 on KING4 [1'48] Super-budget price sampler Deleted
Movement 7: Suscepit Israel
Track 7 on CDA66769 [0'48]
Track 7 on CDS44171/81 CD1 [0'48] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 8: Sicut locutus est
Track 8 on CDA66769 [1'44]
Track 8 on CDS44171/81 CD1 [1'44] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 9: Gloria
Track 9 on CDA66769 [1'44]
Track 9 on CDS44171/81 CD1 [1'44] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Track-specific metadata for CDA66769 track 1

Magnificat
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-94-76901
Duration
1'05
Recording date
9 August 1994
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ben Turner
Recording engineer
Philip Hobbs
Hyperion usage
  1. Vivaldi: Sacred Music, Vol. 1 (CDA66769)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: April 1995
  2. Vivaldi: The Complete Sacred Music (CDS44171/81)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: October 2005
    11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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