Venetian liturgical music of the early 18th century tended to be indistinguishable from opera except that the texts were sacred rather than theatrical, allowing congregations to hear the same kinds of displays of flamboyant virtuosity they could expect in the opera house (and often with the same singers). Vivaldi's two settings of the Gloria, both in D major and both from 1715, are no exceptions to that trend, and offer a spectacular showcase for soloists. This Naïve release, part of its Vivaldi Edition, features the singers and players of Concerto Italiano, led by its founder Rinaldo Alessandrini, and contralto Sara Mingardo. Alessandrini's mastery in this repertoire is evident in the supple elegance of the performances, his keen sense of pacing, and particularly in the nuanced balance of the choral parts. The 13-member chorus can sound full as well as intimate, and the youthful blend is especially appealing. The members of the chorus who step into solo roles, sopranos Anna Simboli, Alena Dantcheva, Lia Serafini, and Monica Piccinini, and tenor Luca Dordolo, are all terrific. Mingardo brings a warm, grounded, true contralto sound to her solos, as well as a seamlessly smooth legato and refinement of phrasing. It's intriguing to hear the "famous" Gloria, RV 589, along with the more obscure but no less attractive RV 588. (Vivaldi curiously appropriated and reworked a setting by Giovanni Maria Ruggieri for the final chorus, "Cum sancto spiritu," for both his versions.) Alessandrini also includes the pieces Vivaldi wrote as introductions to the Glorias, Ostro picta, armata spina for soprano solo for RV 589, and Jubilate o ameni Chori for contralto solo for RV 588. Naïve's sound is wonderfully clear and crisp, but with plenty of warmth.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|Ostro picta, armata spina (introduzione to Gloria, RV 588), solo motet for voice, strings & continuo in D, RV 642|
|Gloria, for 3 solo voices, chorus, trumpet, oboe, violin (ad lib), 2 violas, 2 cellos, strings & continuo in D major, RV 589|
|Jubilate o amoeni chori, introduzione to Gloria (RV 588), for voice, two oboes, organ, strings & continuo in D major, RV 639|
|Gloria, for 6 solo voices, chorus, trumpet, 2 oboes, 2 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, strings & continuo in D major, RV 588|