Written for a soprano of exceptionally high range (from E above middle C to the B a twelfth higher), Nulla in mundo pax sincera, RV630, is the most interesting of Vivaldi’s early motets for the Pietà. Its opening da capo aria has an unusually long ‘A’ section in three rather than the usual two vocal periods; a lilting siciliana rhythm, enlivened by violins whose semiquaver figures suggest gentle breezes, is employed to convey the peace gained by trust in Jesus. An elaborate recitative punctuated by ornate arioso flights highlighting selected words warns of Satan’s deadly temptations. This is followed by an aria whose darting phrases depict a snake lying in wait. Confidence is restored in a brilliant ‘Alleluia’ in which the voice successfully takes on the violins at their own game.
from notes by Michael Talbot © 1996