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Vivaldi cantatas OP7257
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Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Cantate per soprano 1
Allor che lo sguardo RV650 [9:42]
Aure, voi più non siete RV652 [10:38]
Tra l’erbe I zeffiri RV669 [8:15]
Sorge vermiglia in ciel RV667 [14:34]
La farfalletta s’aggira al lume RV660 [12:32]
Si levi dal pensier RV665 [6:49]
Arianna Vendittelli (soprano)
Abchordis Ensemble/Andrea Buccarella
rec. 3-6 July 2020, Sala Ghislieri, Mondovi, Italy
NAÏVE OP7257 [62:30]

I last reviewed Vivaldi’s Soprano Cantatas in early 2017 and noted then the virtuosity needed to sing them. At the time, I had some doubts about Camilla de Falliero but was in general very taken by the SACD. This present disc duplicates two of the Cantatas, RV652 and RV667. The latter is known for its extreme vocal demands, and it must be said that Arianna Vendittelli is absolutely superb, not only singing the notes, but in conveying the passion of the text. The accompanying ensemble plays with equal commitment. Combined with a superior recording, though stereo only and not officially hi-res, this present CD is a clear musical winner. I was gripped throughout.

I have already extolled the virtues of RV667 and said more about Vivaldi’s vocal demands, so let’s mention RV669. Here the second virtuoso is the continuo bassoonist Giovanni Battista Graziadio who achieves miraculous rhythmic unanimity with the soprano particularly in the final aria.

The excellent essay by Cesare Fertonani points out that the Chamber Cantata was the most widely disseminated musical genre of the 18th Century and attracted many composers. Unusually Vivaldi did not lead the field, writing a mere thirty or so for various voices, very few compared to the industrious Alessandro Scarlatti (father of Domenico Scarlatti composer of about 500 keyboard sonatas), who anticipated his son’s achievement by writing over 600 chamber cantatas. The form achieved such success because it could be performed in situations ranging from royal courts to theatres to private homes, and by singers and players at all levels of ability. Vivaldi obviously expected much of his performers and aimed high. The texts are the usual 18th Century stuff about shepherds and shepherdesses who must have had little time for herding sheep so busy were they cavorting in the pastoral landscapes with nymphs. Do not look here for the best of Italian literature. Nonetheless, the essay, texts and translations, French, English, Italian and German, are included in Naïve’s typically thorough booklet.

The whole programme is a joy to hear, and one is encouraged to see the “1” in the CD title. I calculate that at least two more discs will be needed to commit all these soprano cantatas to CD. Since this is Vivaldi Edition Vol 68 from Naïve, I have little doubt the others will be on their way, hopefully sung by Arianni Vendittelli.

Dave Billinge



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