This is one of three surviving solo motets that we know (from the evidence of the paper on which the manuscript was written) to have been composed during Vivaldi’s sojourns in Rome during the carnival seasons of 1723 and 1724. These works were most likely written for some of the singers who performed in his three operas written for the Capranica theatre in Rome: Ercole su’l Termodonte, Il Tigrane and Giustino. RV631 is a motet per ogni tempo—‘for all seasons’. Its Latin text, contaminated as always by Arcadian language borrowed from the secular sphere, is a prayer for the deliverance of the believer from earthly delights and for his espousal of heavenly ones. Vivaldi chooses the gentle E flat major as his central key, and the abundant ‘sighing’ appoggiaturas in the first aria conjure up very well the ever-present blandishments of the world. The second aria, in C minor, uses the traditional lamento bass (a descent by chromatic steps from tonic to dominant), perhaps a little ironically, to convey the wilting of a rose. In a final ‘Alleluia’ the soprano dissolves all the argument in an exultant display of virtuosity.
from notes by Michael Talbot © 1999