two years ago I reviewed in these pages the Naive issue
of Tito Manlio
. It was
performed by Academia
Bizantina, on that occasion conducted by Ottavio Dantone,
and I greatly enjoyed it (see review
Co-incidentally, and unluckily for my pocket, I happened
to be working in London that summer when a certain record
store had a series of special offers on the Naive’s Vivaldi
result? Over a period of about three months I added to
my collection Griselda
, La Verita in Cimento
and Orlando Furioso
Alessandrini, Spinosi and de Marche. I have never regretted
this splurge and therefore was intrigued, to say the least,
by the prospect of this CD of re-discovered arias.
and sleeve-note writer Frederic Delamea vividly describes
the on-going investigations into Vivaldi’s manuscripts
in the Biblioteca Nazionale of Turin as reminiscent of: “..opening
secret drawers in antique furniture or hidden staircases
in old palaces.”
current issue brings to light a selection of these unpublished
compositions, arias “...buried in anthologies made by
Vivaldi himself or forgotten alternative(s) tucked away
in the folds of opera scores”.
unifies them is that most have not seen the light of day
for some three centuries.
of which rather begs the question: are they worth reviving?
Having heard the results I’m inclined to believe that they
are, albeit that not every one is a hidden masterpiece.
taken by what I perceived as the seductive lilt of “Se
vincer non si puo” (tr. 2), I found on closer inspection
the gist of the text: “if tears won’t do let blood be shed
instead.” This is actually a bit gruesome and sure enough
the aria ends with a deliciously off-key scrunch in the
strings. In complete contrast the very next track “Mi vuoi
trader lo” plunges us into a world of spasmodic rage, the
brief middle section providing some relief, before being
re-introduced to a hectic world of deceit and infidelity.
so the anthology continues; rage, heroism and traitorous
deeds interspersed with oases of calmer waters, praising
sleep, love and the beautiful eyes of a beloved.
fewer than five items come from “Teuzzone
” the composer’s tenth opera, first heard during the Mantuan Carnival
season in 1719. On the strength of this selection it’s
a piece I’d very much like to hear complete ... if only
perhaps to hear what replaced some of this excellent music
in the published score.
9 introduces us to “Abbia respire il cor – Allow your heart
a moment’s respite” – doubly welcome since as soon as it
concludes it is rapidly succeeded by “Perche lacer oil
foglio” a rage aria of traitorous deeds par
! Indeed Frederic
Delamea speculates that the aria didn’t make it to the
first performance because it was simply too difficult to
perform, being replaced by a more restrained extract from “Ottone
” also supplies the final item
in the recital, “Alma mia frat anti affani – my soul amid
so many troubles”. Well by this stage I was well and truly
enchanted and any troubles I had seemed to be pushed into
the far distance.
well as the arias the compilers of the CD have introduced
variety with the addition of two concertos - for violin
and strings and for string ensemble - which exhibit the
same expertise as the players provide in the accompaniments
to the vocal pieces. That said, the engineers have picked
up Stefano Montanari’s sniffing quite clearly in the slow
movement of the solo concerto.
must not conclude without mention of our excellent soloist
Sonia Prina! She encompasses the various moods expertly,
managing languor and warmth, as well as dealing with some
fearsome passages of fast divisions with equal aplomb.
I see that there is a version of Teuzzone
available (Brilliant Classics 93351) but if
Naive have got Ms Prina booked I think it’ll be well worth