In the late 1720s Vivaldi’s connections with the court at Dresden became strengthened. His loyal advocate and former pupil Johann Georg Pisendel took over the direction of the court orchestra in 1728, and a group of seven singers who had been trained in Venice for six years at the court’s expense (two of them as fee-paying boarders at the Pietà) arrived in 1730. The two motets collected by Zelenka (see above) very possibly reached him soon afterwards via one of these singers. The text of this motet for soprano employs the standard operatic metaphor of a ship buffeted by heavy seas that the helmsman is able to steer safely into port—in this case with the aid of the stella maris, the Virgin Mary. One progressive feature of the first aria is the use of a different metre and slower tempo for the central (‘B’) section. This strong musical contrast parallels the difference in mood between the ‘A’ and ‘B’ sections of the text. The final ‘Alleluia’ demonstrates Vivaldi’s rhythmic and harmonic inventiveness even when the texture becomes reduced to only two ‘real’ parts.
from notes by Michael Talbot © 1999