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Beatus vir, RV597
author of text
Psalm 111 (112)

'Vivaldi: Sacred Music, Vol. 3' (CDA66789)
Vivaldi: Sacred Music, Vol. 3
'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)  
Movement 01: Beatus vir
Movement 02: Potens in terra
Movement 03: Beatus vir
Movement 04: Gloria et divitiae
Movement 05: Beatus vir
Movement 06: Exortum est in tenebris
Movement 07: Iucundus homo
Movement 08: Beatus vir
Movement 09: In memoria aeterna
Movement 10: Beatus vir
Movement 11: Paratum cor eius
Movement 12: Peccator videbit
Movement 13: Beatus vir
Movement 14: Gloria Patri, et Filio

Beatus vir, RV597
At some point before c1719 Vivaldi composed the original version of his Beatus vir in C major. This is lost, but two reworkings of it survive. The better-known (and musically stronger) version, Beatus vir RV597, is for two cori and probably dates from the middle or late 1720s; the other (RV795) was sold by Vivaldi to the Pietà in 1739 and attempts valiantly but rather vainly to update the music through an increased emphasis on movements for solo voice.

RV597 is written on the grandest scale. Its opening movement employs the pompous dotted rhythms associated in Italy with the French style and the regal majesty of Versailles and its equivalents. Vivaldi extracts from the opening movement a refrain that recurs at strategic points during the work as a whole. This use of a motto is in fact quite traditional in settings of the Beatus vir; we find it as early as Monteverdi. The second movement is perhaps, in textural terms, the oddest in all Vivaldi’s sacred music. It is written in only two contrapuntal parts, but each part comprises a solo bass doubled by strings in the appropriate octave. The result is a texture that manages to be lean and massive at the same time. The ‘Gloria et divitiae’ movement for two solo sopranos is a surprisingly effective expansion of the original version for only one soprano using an ‘echo’ technique. Then comes (after a further restatement of the motto) an ‘Exortum est in tenebris’ that contains some effective fugal counterpoint, apt word-painting and an admirable variety in the handling of the two cori. The racy ‘Jucundus homo’ uses the organs of both cori to accompany a soprano soloist. Following this, we arrive at the high point of the work: the terzet ‘In memoria aeterna’ in C minor. This is a highly expressive movement that is much more clever in construction (I refer to its ingenious contrapuntal combination of motives) than it sounds. A rousing chorus, ‘Paratum cor ejus’, and a vivid ‘Peccator videbit’ for solo tenor (in which contrasted tempi are used for special expressive effect) lead, via the motto, to the single movement containing the text of the Doxology. This starts by referring back in the normal way to the opening movement and then turns into a jubilant fugue that hints at plainsong by its conspicuous use of long pedal-notes, which appear at some point in each part.

from notes by Michael Talbot ę 1997

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Details for CDS44171/81 disc 3 track 28
Movement 12: Peccator videbit
Recording date
7 January 1997
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. 3 (CDA66789)
    Disc 1 Track 28
    Release date: May 1997
  2. Vivaldi: The Complete Sacred Music (CDS44171/81)
    Disc 3 Track 28
    Release date: October 2005
    11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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