Vivaldi: Concerto Madrigalesco; Laudate Pueri; Il Gran Mogul; Motet Nulla in mundo; etc

COMPOSERS: Vivaldi
LABELS: Channel Classics
ALBUM TITLE: Vivaldi
WORKS: Concerto Madrigalesco; Laudate Pueri; Il Gran Mogul; Motet Nulla in mundo; etc
PERFORMER: Motet Nulla in mundo; etc Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano), Ashley Solomon (flute), Bojan Cicic (violin), Jennifer Morsches (cello); Florilegium
CATALOGUE NO: CCS SA 32311

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If I were ever to find myself in the unenviable position of having to live with only one of Vivaldi’s sacred works then it would certainly be this G major setting for soprano of the Vespers psalm, Laudate pueri Dominum (RV 601). While it has neither the vigour nor the brilliance of the Gloria and Dixit Dominus settings it has an expressive warmth and inner radiance to which my sensibilities have always yielded.

It has been recorded at least a dozen times since that great champion of Vivaldi’s music, Angelo Ephrikian, made the first one in 1952, but alongside Lynne Dawson (Meridian), Suzie Le Blanc (Atma) and Sandrine Piau (Naïve) we may comfortably consider Elin Manahan Thomas. Her fresh sounding, youthful voice, agile technique and secure intonation are a delight and are qualities that well serve the sometimes theatrical demands of Vivaldi’s virtuoso writing. Manahan highlights the hint of early Classicism, too, with softly spoken appoggiaturas and gently contoured phrases. And above all this are passages of evocative imagery such as that of the rising sun in the aria ‘A soli ortu’.

The motet Nulla in mundo pax sincera also comes off well while the interspersed instrumental concertos are played with vitality and finesse. Here is a disc from Florilegium that should disappoint few readers and it deserves to do well.

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Nicholas Anderson