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The King's Consort continue their acclaimed recording series of Vivaldi with two sparkling serenatas written in 1725 and 1726 for the French Ambassador, Jacques-Vincent Languet, Count of Gergy. The Ambassador celebrated every year the feast of St Louis on 25 August, thereby honouring not only the patron saint of his country, St Louis, but also its monarch.
La Senna Festeggiante is recorded complete for the first time, with the missing section newly restored by leading scholar Carlo Vitali and conductor Robert King. (A recent CD version misses out a major portion of music and text before the finale!) The scoring is for three principal voices, with the brilliant soprano Carolyn Sampson as L'Eta dell' Oro, alto Hilary Summers as La Virtù and the fine young bass Andrew Foster-Williams as La Senna. The orchestration is vivid, backed by a continuo section full of rhythm and life: Robert King's new edition also makes full use of the colourful wind section that Vivaldi adds to his score.
The Wedding Serenata Gloria e Imeneo, recorded here for the first time, was written to commemorate the marriage of Louis XV and the Polish princess Maria Leszczynska and was performed in Venice in September 1725 in a loggia at the end of the Ambassador's garden. The two characters are Imeneo (Hymen, the god of marriage) and La Gloria (Glory, the attribute of the French monarch), here taken by the brilliant young Norwegian mezzo-soprano Tuva Semmingsen and alto Hilary Summers.
The works were recorded after a huge series of live performances across Europe. The CD recording maintains the same sense of live performance, incorporating long takes, a strong sense of staging and the use of varied audio perspective.