Vivaldi: Ostro picta, RV 642

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

WORKS: Ostro picta, RV 642; Gloria, RV 589; Gloria, RV 588
PERFORMER: Sara Mingardo (contralto); Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini


Director Rinaldo Alessandrini has brought together Vivaldi’s two settings of the Gloria (RV 588 and 589). Both are in D major and each is scored similarly. This is Alessandrini’s second recording of the celebrated Gloria (RV 589); indeed so familiar has it become that it is difficult to stand back and view it objectively. What strikes my ears are the consistently high level of musical invention and its effective formal concision, bringing to mind Bach’s Magnificat (BWV 243).

Both versions of this evergreen vocal masterpiece are stylish and deeply felt. Common to both is the affecting singing of contralto Sara Mingardo; her ‘Domine Deus Agnus Dei’ is poignantly declaimed. In the soprano ‘Domine Deus Rex coelestis’ Alessandrini prefers a solo violin to a solo oboe in both versions: Vivaldi offers either/or, but while I feel that an oboe is the stronger contender, the partnership of Deborah York and violinist Francesca Vicari in the earlier issue (1997) is one of rare beauty.


The ‘other’ Gloria by-and-large comes over well, though the choral singing compares unfavourably with the Choir of the King’s Consort (Hyperion). Attractive features of the new disc lie in the coupling of the two works and the inclusion of an introductory motet to each. That belonging to the less familiar Gloria is integral to the setting and is scored for alto solo, while Ostro picta, for soprano, may have been intended to preface the well-known Gloria as it does here. Nicholas Anderson