courtesy of Sony Music
This past Friday Sony Classical released an album consisting entirely of sacred music by Antonio Vivaldi. For those who know Vivaldi only through the prodigious abundance of his concertos (and possibly also the RV 589 setting of the Gloria portion of the Mass text), this recording should provide a fascinating and delightful journey of discovery. It includes two other sections of the Mass, a G minor setting of the Kyrie (RV 587) and an E minor setting of the Credo (RV 591), two motets, In turbato mare irato (RV 627) and Sum in medio tempestatum (RV 632), and the RV 608 setting of the Nisi Dominus Psalm.
The entire album was recorded in Vienna. Rubén Dubrovsky conducts the members of the Bach Consort Wien and the Wiener Kammerchor, whose Music Director is Michael Grohotolsky. Of greater interest, however, may be the presence of Alaskan mezzo Vivica Genaux. Genaux has built up a solid reputation for her command of the Baroque repertoire, having recording on a variety of first-rate labels. This new release reaffirms her skill at interpreting the many different rhetorical stances one encounters in Vivaldi’s sacred music.
Beyond the impressive vocal artistry on the recording, however, one has the opportunity to appreciate many of the ways in which Vivaldi’s sacred music is more than just his concertos with words added. (Those interested in such an approach would do better to seek out Michel Corrette’s Laudate Dominum de Coelis motet.) The use of a scaled-down organ is better suited to the ecclesial setting than a harpsichord, while the inclusion of a theorbo lends an intimacy to the delivery of the sacred texts. From such a point of view, Genaux is always consistently on the same page as Dubrovsky when it comes to endowing her words with the most suitable and moving expressiveness.
As a result, those already familiar with Vivaldi’s sacred music will find this new album to give a satisfying account, while those for whom this album will be a journey of discovery will find both Dubrovsky and Genaux to be first-rate guides.