Pietà – Sacred works by Vivaldi

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COMPOSERS: Vivaldi
LABELS: Erato
ALBUM TITLE: Pietà – Sacred works by Vivaldi
WORKS: Pietà: Sacred works for alto
PERFORMER: Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor), Ensemble Artaserse

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Philippe Jaroussky here combines well-established with less-often heard sacred pieces. The album opens with the motet Clarae stellae, consisting of two fast moving arias in which the voice often doubles the violins. The next motet, Longe mala, umbrae, terrores is really for a higher voice, but Jaroussky has a vocal range that can comfortably accommodate Vivaldi’s often very exacting demands. Filiae maestae Jerusalem is an introductory piece in three movements to a Miserere: its centrally placed aria with a gently throbbing accompaniment is of great beauty and Jaroussky’s sensibility serves it well. Vivaldi’s G minor setting of the antiphon Salve Regina calls for double orchestra. Here and throughout his recital Jaroussky highlights the sensuous contours of Vivaldi’s melodies.

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The programme’s focal point is Vivaldi’s F minor setting of the Vespers hymn Stabat Mater. Jaroussky is always attentive to textual nuance conveying intimacy and tenderness in his beautifully controlled declamation. The two remaining items are the Domine Deus aria in siciliano rhythm with oboe solo from the celebrated Gloria, and a C minor Concerto for ripieno strings. Ensemble Artaserse provides responsive support. Nicholas Anderson