Vivaldi: Sum in medio tempestatum, RV 632; In furore iustissimae irae, RV 626; Nulla in mundo pax sincera, RV 630; In turbato mare irato, RV 627

COMPOSERS: Vivaldi
LABELS: Archiv
ALBUM TITLE: Vivaldi
WORKS: Sum in medio tempestatum, RV 632; In furore iustissimae irae, RV 626; Nulla in mundo pax sincera, RV 630; In turbato mare irato, RV 627
PERFORMER: Simone Kermes (soprano); Venice Baroque Orchestra/Andrea Marcon
CATALOGUE NO: 477 5980
If any doubts still linger among readers concerning Vivaldi’s originality in the setting of sacred texts, then this recital should dispel them once and for all. That is not at all to say that the texts themselves are of any great literary merit, but their imagery, sometimes vivid, served Vivaldi’s interests well. The four motets on this disc belong to different periods in Vivaldi’s life. The earliest, ‘Nulla in mundo pax’ probably dates from c1713-1717, ‘In furore iustissimae’ from the 1720s. ‘In turbato mare irato’ and ‘Sum in medio tempestatum’, on the other hand, were written in the 1730s. These two later motets are much less often heard than the other two but are musically their equal. Simone Kermes is an agile singer with a wide vocal range who is comfortably able to negotiate Vivaldi’s virtuoso writing with technical panache and expressive warmth. These are indeed artistic prerequisites for making the most of that are without exception soprano showpieces. As she has demonstrated both in the recent recording of Vivaldi’s opera Griselda (Naïve, reviewed in October) and in the title role of the serenata Andromeda Liberata with the Venice Baroque Orchestra (Archiv), Kermes is capable of strong characterisation as well as vocal pyrotechnics – the Alleluia of ‘In turbato mare’ is breathtaking. If she just fails to win first place against Sandrine Piau’s ‘In furore’ (Naïve OP 30416) it is of little relevance since her singing and the string support of the Venice Baroque Orchestra are highly rewarding throughout. Nicholas Anderson

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