Movement 1: Vos aurae per montes
Movement 2: Cuncta orbis
Movement 3: Tellus, astra
Movement 4: Alleluia
Padua was the Republic of Venice’s ‘second city’ and the seat of its university. When the Venetian nobility went, for their summer vacation, to their country seats on the mainland, they often travelled via Padua, attending the basilica’s patronal festival on the way. Vivaldi was very familiar with this ceremony, since both he, and before him his father, were on several occasions recruited to the orchestra that participated in it. Indeed, in 1712 he wrote a violin concerto for the feast (RV212) in which he himself took the solo part.
The opening aria depicts the gentle wafting of the breezes in terms familiar to those who remember the first movement of Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’ Concerto from The Four Seasons, testing the vocal soloist’s virtuosity. The recitative focuses on the miraculous tongue of the saint, uncorrupted even after his death. A second aria calls on the whole of nature to recount Antony’s deeds, and an exuberant, concerto-like ‘Alleluia’ rounds off the work.
from notes by Michael Talbot © 2003