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Vivaldi's only surviving oratorio here receives a rare recording, and this stunning performance (recorded after a London concert, and the only truly 'authentic' version available) is sure to become the definitive version for years to come.
The work was written for the Pietà, the famous girls' orphanage in Venice where Vivaldi was Music Director and for which much of his music was composed, and with an almost unlimited range of instruments and instrumentalists at his disposal Vivaldi truly indulged his fondness for instrumental colour—throughout the many arias, the all-female cast are accompanied variously by chalumeau, early clarinets, viole all'inglese, viola d'amore and four theorbos, in addition to the instruments of the expected baroque orchestra.
Though the extant work opens with a rousing and virtuosic chorus, in this performance Robert King prefaces it with the first two movements of Vivaldi's colourful Concerto (RV555) as it is certain the work would have commenced with an overture, now lost.