Hom­mage à Vi­valdi

BBC Music Magazine - - Choral & Song -

In tur­bato mare irato, RV627; Kyrie, RV587; Nisi Domi­nus, RV608; Credo, RV591, etc

Vivica Ge­naux (mezzo-so­prano); Vi­enna Cham­ber Choir; Bach

Con­sort Wien/rubén Dubrovsky Sony 19075836762 72:42 mins Con­duc­tor Rubén Dubrovsky has de­liv­ered a mas­ter stroke. Com­bin­ing top tal­ent, un­fa­mil­iar reper­tory, and a pris­tine record­ing acous­tic, he makes us hear why Vene­tians adored Vi­valdi’s sa­cred mu­sic. his programme comes from around 1716, when Vi­valdi un­ex­pect­edly came to di­rect con­certs at Venice’s Ospedale della Pi­età, a favourite re­sort of fash­ion­ista. For this au­di­ence Vi­valdi wrote flash solo motets for guest cas­tratos, and con­cer­tostyled mass set­tings for his allfe­male mu­si­cians. The solo motets’ ridicu­lous po­etry – ‘longed-for flame of heaven’, ‘calm­ing stars’ and so on – gave Vi­valdi and the cas­tratos li­cence to strut their af­fec­tive stuff; as a mu­si­cal al­ter­na­tive, Vi­valdi made band and choir jos­tle for at­ten­tion in his mass mu­sic.

Vivica Ge­naux brings a fas­ci­nat­ing swag­ger to the solo motets. her ch­est voice has a bari­tone rich­ness; in higher reg­is­ters, she can sound vir­ginal or diva-ish. Zoom­ing through scalar pas­sages and leap­ing around reg­is­ters, she turns dog­gerel Latin into mov­ing state­ments. Un­usu­ally, she of­ten cues her in­ter­pre­tive moves to har­monic rhythm – a good in­stance is track 11, Vi­valdi’s si­cil­iano set­ting of the Psalm 127, ‘Cum dederit’. To its gen­tle strum­ming Ge­naux brings a hushed still­ness, chang­ing dy­nam­ics only when chords shift. That’s vir­tu­os­ity at its most sub­tle.

Wedged be­tween solo motets are Vi­valdi’s Kyrie and Credo set­tings, in which the band’s fiery ri­tor­nel­los fight to eclipse the choir’s sub­lime ho­mophony. Urged on by Dubrovsky, the Bach Con­sort Wien bus­tles through this score; the Wienerkam­mer Chor match their vigour, though not their va­ri­ety. Recorded in the ★of burgkap­pelle in Vi­enna, this per­for­mance would make Vi­valdi proud. Berta Jon­cus PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★ RECORD­ING ★★★★★

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