Vivaldi: Motet ‘In furore iustissimae irae’, RV626; Laudate pueri, RV601; Concertos RV 286 & 541; Sinfonia, RV 169 (Al Santo Sepolcro)

COMPOSERS: Vivaldi
LABELS: NAIVE
ALBUM TITLE: Vivaldi
WORKS: Motet ‘In furore iustissimae irae’, RV626; Laudate pueri, RV601; Concertos RV 286 & 541; Sinfonia, RV 169 (Al Santo Sepolcro)
PERFORMER: Sandrine Piau (soprano); Stefano Montanari (violin); Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone
CATALOGUE NO: OP 30416
French soprano Sandrine Piau has been enchanting us for several years with her contributions to programmes with Les Arts Florissants and, more recently with discs of opera arias by Handel (Naïve E 8894) and Vivaldi (Naïve OP 30411). In this new release she takes us into the sphere of sacred music with two of Vivaldi’s most technically exacting pieces for solo soprano, the C minor motet In furore, and the G major Vespers psalm Laudate pueri (RV 601). Both works demonstrate Vivaldi’s highly original approach to the setting of sacred texts and, above all perhaps, his flair for word painting. The most striking instance occurs in the third movement of the Laudate pueri where the rising sun of the text is illustrated by a slowly ascending note pattern in the vocal line. The effect is pure magic as indeed is much else in this most alluring of all Vivaldi’s works for solo voice. Piau is on impeccable form, judging each interval to perfection and settling on the highest peaks of an unusually wide tessitura with all the ease and precision imaginable.

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There have been several fine accounts of this piece on disc in the past – Suzie le Blanc (Vanguard), Catherine Bott (Chandos), Magda Kalmar (Hungaraton) and Margaret Marshall (Philips) spring to mind, but Piau, with the intuitive rapport of a small string band and an excellent flautist outdistances them all. The intimate sinfonia Al Santo Sepolcro and a virtuoso Violin Concerto in D major ‘per la solennità di San Lorenzo’, stylishly and intrepidly played by Stefano Montanari set the seal on one of the most outstanding releases of the Vivaldi Edition so far.

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Nicholas Anderson.