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Track(s) taken from CDA66769

Magnificat, RV610a

author of text
Luke 1: 46-55

King's Consort Choir, The King's Consort, Robert King (conductor)
Recording details: August 1994
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: April 1995
Total duration: 13 minutes 52 seconds


‘Very special indeed … the ebullient notes come bouncing off the page and just when it seems that everyone is giving their stupendous all, Robert King manages to squeeze a little extra. A Dixit Dominus to sweep you off your feet. Volume 1 is going to be a hard act to follow’ (Classic CD)

‘The production values on this disc could hardly be bettered. I don't know what Hyperion is feeding their recording equipment but these are some contented cows and they produce pure Devonshire cream. This is deep sound, the kind the listener practically feels he can reach out and touch. There is scarcely a church or concert hall anywhere in the world with an ambience this sensual … One of the finest discs to have come my way this year. Look for this one on my year-end Want list. But don't wait till December, buy it now’ (Fanfare, USA)

‘Lustrous, immaculate performances’ (The New Yorker, USA)
The earliest version of Vivaldi’s Magnificat in G minor was probably written for the Pietà around 1715 and is preserved in a copy made for the Cistercian monastery of Osek fairly soon afterwards. In the 1720s Vivaldi revised it, rewriting the tenor and bass parts in some places to make them more suited to male voices and adding a pair of oboes. One movement, the terzet ‘Sicut locutus est’, was considerably expanded in order to give the oboes a chance to appear as obbligato instruments. Vivaldi wrote instructions on the score of this second version (RV610) which assigned each movement to either (or both) of the cori. However, the work remains absolutely ‘monochoral’ in its musical conception and there is little to be gained in using two cori.

The Magnificat is notable for its conciseness. As it is a setting of the canticle sung at every Vesper service, it was inevitably destined to be repeated time after time, and this is perhaps the reason why Vivaldi exercised such restraint. It opens – strikingly – with the favourite chromatic passage set to the first verse. There follows an ‘aria a tre’, a movement in which the text of each of the three succeeding verses is sung by a different voice. Even the choir makes a brief appearance, repeating the alto’s ‘omnes’ (‘all’) with punning effect. This is followed by the most extended and memorable of all the movements, a chorus on the verse beginning ‘Et misericordia eius’. Here Vivaldi expresses great poignancy through chromaticism and ‘anguished’ melodic intervals such as the major seventh. The next two verses are set as a pair of choral movements: ‘Fecit potentiam’ dramatically demonstrates the Lord’s strength over a splendidly busy bass line, and the mighty are put down and the humble exalted in graphic fashion. Next, to illustrate the filling of the ‘hungry with good things’, Vivaldi inserts a charming duet for sopranos supported by a prominent ostinato figure in the bass. The ‘Suscepit Israel’ is a brief interlude, leading to the surprisingly cheerful ‘Sicut locutus est’ terzet – not quite the solemn homage to the biblical forefathers which this verse usually produces. The Doxology begins with a condensed version of the work’s opening bars (the punning possibilities of the words ‘As it was in the beginning’ are rarely overlooked!), followed by a vigorous double fugue in traditional style.

from notes by Michael Talbot © 1994

Other albums featuring this work

Vivaldi: The Complete Sacred Music
CDS44171/8111CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
The King's Consort Baroque Collection
KING4Super-budget price sampler — Deleted
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