WORKS: Sum in medio tempestatum, RV 632; Laudate pueri, RV 600; Cur sagittas, cur tela, RV 637; Sanctorum meritis, RV 620; Salve regina, RV 616
PERFORMER: Susan Gritton (soprano), Tuva Semmingsen (mezzo-soprano), Nathalie Stutzmann (contralto), The King’s Consort/Robert King
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 66829
This eighth volume of Hyperion’s archival collection is devoted to solo settings, for which King’s vocal team just keeps on getting better. Susan Gritton, as fresh now as in Vol. 1 of 1995, is wonderfully fluent and direct in Laudate pueri. Its first movement is a vocal concerto, the last an extraordinary Gloria with solo violin and voice duetting reflectively, from alternating dialogue, through entwining counterpoint, to final unity in ecstatic parallel thirds.
Nathalie Stutzmann, the discovery of 2001, sings Salve regina sobbing poignantly in ‘this vale of tears’ – and authentically, too: all other current recordings use a countertenor despite Vivaldi’s specifically female ‘cantante’. She must have been one of the girls of the Pietà, the orphanage where Vivaldi spent the largest part of his working life, and the depths to which Stutzmann plunges in Cur sagittas surely confirm that Vivaldi’s choral ‘tenors’ were indeed exceptional voices like hers.
But King’s newest discovery is the most stunning, Norwegian-born Tuva Semmingsen. Her experience so far has been largely in opera, ideal preparation for the violent tempest of RV 632, the passionate word-painting of ‘gloom’ and ‘dejection’, and the audacious virtuosity of the final Alleluia. Little wonder Tartini charged Vivaldi with treating the voice as ‘the gullet of a violin’. A magnificent disc. George Pratt