If any sacred work by Vivaldi deserves to be described as his ‘most perfect’, it is Domine ad adjuvandum RV593. Its short text—half a verse from Psalm 69 (70) plus the Doxology—is a response (or ‘respond’) to the versicle ‘Deus in adjutorium meum intende’, with which Vespers open. RV593 belongs to the group of large-scale works in due cori dating from the 1720s. The words from the Psalm, occupying the opening movement in G major, are dispatched in choral writing of great panache—nowhere does Vivaldi exploit the antiphonal potential of a double choir and orchestra to greater effect. The urgency conveyed by the word ‘festina’ (‘make haste’) is admirably captured in the phrases tossed from choir to choir. In contrast, the ‘Gloria Patri’ is an ecstatic solo in E minor for a soprano threading her (originally, no doubt, ‘his’) way between the two continuously dialoguing instrumental ensembles. The final part of the Doxology is an introduction and fugue for united cori. Its two sections are knit together by the presence of continuous quavers in the instrumental bass. Initially at walking speed, these break into a canter for the fugue, which demonstrates almost ostentatiously Vivaldi’s ability to create a number of invertible counter-subjects, each of which can suitably act as a bass to the others.
from notes by Michael Talbot © 1997