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Scarlatti Sonatas Vol 2

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Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Concerto in G RV 156 [5:24]
Sonata a quatro in E flat major “Al Santo Sepolcro” RV 130 [3:38]
Filiae Maestae Jerusalem - Introduzione al Miserere RV 638 [9:59]
Stabat Mater RV 621 [16:57]
Lauda Jerusalem RV 609 [6:44]
Gloria RV 589 [28:06]
Hanna Herfurtner (soprano), Joowon Chung (soprano), Andreas Scholl (alto)
Bach Consort Wien
Salzburger Bachchor/Rubén Dubrovsky
rec. live, Basilika Stift Klosterneuburg, Lower Austria, 6 April 2017
GRAMOLA 99165 [70:47]

These six pieces, two instrumental and four vocal, are all Vivaldi at his finest, climaxing in the justly famous Gloria RV589. The Concerto RV156 and the two movement Sonata a quatro RV130 are for strings and basso continuo. The vocal pieces RV638 and 621 are for alto, strings and basso continuo; the short RV609 is for strings, basso continuo, two sopranos and double chorus. Finally, the Gloria includes everyone plus an oboe and a trumpet to add brilliance. All the scores are from the Biblioteca Nazionale in Turin. Needless to say, all the performers are given the most athletic workout, though the great Andreas Scholl has the lion's share of solo display. He and his two soprano colleagues sing superbly well. The instrumentalists are all of the highest standard and director Rubén Dubrovsky propels his forces with gusto. Combine this with a splendidly atmospheric recording in what is audibly a lovely spacious church and one has the recipe for a superb CD. All that is missing is a surround recording to place one within the church rather than simply looking in from one's listening room. Gramola do make SACDs but this is not one of them. No hi-res download is available either.

This seems to be a complete concert because all the music is played without a significant break between works and only at the very end is the audience allowed to applaud. Stopping this CD between works needs quick reactions if the first notes of the next piece are not to be cut off. Given that it is all over in just under 71 minutes it makes for a very good listening session at the end of which you will feel tempted to join the audience in the in applauding loudly.

The liner-notes are basically a marketing puff for the performers and tell one nothing about the music at all and even the section supposedly about Vivaldi wanders off topic. So 'nul points' to Gramola for the booklet except that there is a very pretty wading bird on the front cover, but even so the gorgeous Basilika Stift Klosterneuburg would have been much more apposite!

Dave Billinge

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