JS Bach; Mondonville; Vivaldi

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: JS Bach; Mondonville; Vivaldi
ALBUM TITLE: JS Bach; Mondonville; Vivaldi
WORKS: JS Bach: Gloria in excelsis Deo, BWV191; Mondonville: Grand motet: Dominus regnavit; Vivaldi: Gloria, RV589
PERFORMER: Ann Monoyios (soprano), Matthew White (countertenor), Colin Ainsworth (tenor); Tafelmusik Chamber Choir & Baroque Orchestra/Jeanne Lamon



In a rare misjudgement, Bach took movements of what later became the B minor Mass to provide a festive Gloria in 1745. The opening choruses are virtually identical, but ‘Gloria Patri’, the opening of the doxology, bears little relationship in spirit to the familiar ‘Domine Deus’ of the Mass. Bach’s instrumental treatment of the voices are ably managed by these 25 singers. De Mondonville’s Grand Motet delighted his Paris audience with its ‘Tempest’ scene from Psalm 93. The storm rises in fury, voices flying to a mighty climax before falling back in calm, wondering contemplation of the power of both God and sea. Otherwise, though the rather insubstantial music evokes some heavenly sounds, it rarely fires the choir until the lively final chorus.

The best, Vivaldi’s Gloria, is saved for the end. Monoyios and a soprano from this gifted choir must be as near to the sweet naive sound of Vivaldi’s Venetian orphan girls as one could hope. White’s countertenor ‘Domine Deus’ is impressively reflective – though strictly inauthentic: Vivaldi was the only man allowed behind the grills concealing the girls in the Pietà church galleries.


Parrott (Virgin) matches Vivaldi’s all-female choir – a fascinating sound-quality. Of more conventional options, King (Hyperion) is both deeply atmospheric and the most ardent, though Taurins’s courageously paced ‘Cum Sancto’, with beautifully restrained trumpet-playing, is impressive. George Pratt