Movement 1: Sum in medio tempestatum
Movement 2: Quid ergo faciam
Movement 3: Semper maesta
Movement 4: Alleluia
The text for the motet was set also by Leonardo Leo (1690-c1730). In an opening aria the singer likens the human condition to that of a ship amid stormy seas (Vivaldi’s flashes of lightning in the first violin part are clearly audible). In the recitative that follows, he (or she) resolves to renounce the temptations of the world and follow Jesus. This leaves a second, slower aria to express the singer’s contentment and feelings of security in a new-found faith. A vivacious ‘Alleluia’ (without which no motet is complete) provides a final burst of exuberance.
RV632, besides requiring a singer of quite extraordinary agility, finds Vivaldi at his most galant. There is a wealth of detail in the principal melodic line, and a strict polarity between the ornate treble and functional bass is very evident. The distraction of counterpoint is largely eschewed. This is not, however, superficial or facile music, although it certainly projects values different from those cultivated at the outset of his career.
from notes by Michael Talbot © 2002