The listener may be surprised to find such familiar works as Vivaldi's Gloria and Magnificat on a recording of music for women's choir. Conductor Matthias Maute offers this rationale for this unusual presentation of works that were scored for mixed voices. The composer wrote these, and many of his works, for the girls and young women of the Venetian orphanage Ospedale della Pietà, and the odds are strong that the girls (who were kept in strict isolation from men) would have sung the lower parts transposed to a higher octave. Maute also argues that the sound of the close harmonies in this arrangement allow us to hear this music from a fresh perspective, and it's hard to argue that point. The dissonances are all the more poignant and the resolutions all the sweeter when the voicing is this close, and the effect is in fact revelatory. The CD also includes two motets for soprano, strings, and continuo, and a concerto for two recorders. The chorus sings with exceptional purity and immaculate intonation, and its blend is beautiful. Vocal soloists Monika Mauch, Shannon Mercer, and Josée Lalonde have voices of great suppleness, purity, and expressiveness, and they put Vivaldi's instrumental-like vocal lines across with warmth and conviction. High soprano Mauch, in particular, has a ringing voice of bell-like clarity. Maute leads the singers and players of the Montreal-based Ensemble Caprice in readings that are vigorously articulated and subtly nuanced, performed with crisp precision and high energy. Analekta's sound is clear, open, and spacious.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|Gloria, for 3 solo voices, chorus, trumpet, oboe, violin (ad lib), 2 violas, 2 cellos, strings & continuo in D major, RV 589|
|In furore giustissimae irae, solo motet for voice, strings & continuo in C minor, RV 626|
|Double Oboe Concerto for 2 oboes (or recorders), strings & continuo in D minor, RV 535|
|Ostro picta, armata spina (introduzione to Gloria, RV 588), solo motet for voice, strings & continuo in D, RV 642|
|Magnificat, for 4 vocal soloists, chorus, 2 oboes, strings & continuo in G minor, RV 610|