RV604 belongs to the group of psalms Vivaldi wrote for Easter Sunday at the Pietà in 1739. It survives not only in Turin but also in the fragments of the Pietà’s repertory today preserved at the Conservatorio di Musica ‘Benedetto Marcello’ in Venice. It is amusing to see, from the parts copied out for their own use by the Pietà’s musicians, that they had just as much difficulty as we sometimes have today in deciphering Vivaldi’s intentions.
The composer does his best to keep the musical interest alive in this 97-bar movement. He varies the accompanimental patterns on the violins, changes key in effective and sometimes surprising ways, and utilizes different kinds of vocal texture (albeit without ever foregoing a pervasive homophony). Imitating the structure of the Psalm’s verses, he sometimes adopts a responsorial style in which the solo sopranos alone are answered by the full choir. Word-painting is rarely encountered. Because of its deliberate simplicity, this setting shows few differences from the comparable pieno settings from the ‘first’ period, RV606 and 607, which were composed over twenty years earlier.
from notes by ©