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Amor Sacro - Vivaldi: Mottetti / Simone Kermes


Release Date: 02/13/2007 
Label:  Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog #: 000823702   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Simone Kermes
Conductor:  Andrea Marcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Venice Baroque Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



VIVALDI In furore. Nulla in mundo. In turbato mare irato. Sum in medio Simone Kermes (sop); Andrea Marcon, cond; Venice Baroque O (period instruments) ARCHIV B0008237–02 (67:06)


It is indicative of the contemptuous manner in which some of the major record companies now treat their potential customers that the once meticulous and prestigious Archiv label should issue this CD of Vivaldi motets without texts or translations. Such a course is barely acceptable from a bargain company; at full price it is totally Read more unacceptable. The clear implication is that listeners are happy to listen to one of today’s early-music stars without interest in boring old words.


Actually, I’m not convinced that Simone Kermes is that interested in the texts either, but we’ll come back to that in a moment. On the level of sheer vocal beauty and virtuosity, this is a staggering disc. Throughout, the gorgeous Kermes voice glints like the finest gold picked out by a shaft of sunlight, unfailingly on the note, and negotiating every run and ornament incorporated in Vivaldi’s virtuoso writing with a consummate ease that at first takes the breath away, but then comes to seem almost routine. It isn’t routine, of course, and commands the utmost admiration and respect. Slow movements, all taken very slowly indeed, are spun on the richest of threads, with much use of a floated mezza voce (one of the principal weapons in the Kermes armory) that time after time ravishes the ear.


For many that will be sufficient, but delve a little below the surface and questions start to emerge. Is it not all a little too calculated, rather too finely sculpted? The aria “Resplende, bella” from In turbato will serve as a single example that could be replicated many times elsewhere. Here Marcon coaxes from his superb Venice players choppy rhythms and swelling crescendos and diminuendos tapered and nuanced to the finest degree, while Kermes is so involved with such alien expressivity that she misses the conflict of radiance and horror (“Shine forth, splendid divine star/I shall not fear the horrors of death”). Then turn to Emma Kirkby’s classic account of the motet on a 1987 Hyperion disc and you will find a directness of emotional impact and clarity of diction obscured by the contrivance of the present performance. You’ll find much the same thing in Tuva Semmingsen’s magnificent performance for Robert King of the lesser-known Sum in medio ( Fanfare 26: 3), like In turbato a late motet probably composed for the Dresden court. For In furore , I find Sandrine Piau equally impressive technically, although her disc is not without flaws (30:4), while Anke Herrmann provides an attractive, if less spectacular performance of Nulla in mundo , particularly in its beguiling opening aria in siciliano rhythm (27:3). Both these discs are in Naïve/Opus 111’s ongoing Vivaldi series (vols. 31 and 17, respectively.


As I’ve suggested, there is much on the present disc that is dazzlingly impressive, but don’t mistake these for historically informed performances. They incorporate far too many later accretions to be that. Those not bothered by such matters can (and doubtless will) safely ignore my reservations, especially if they are fans of Kermes’s richly endowed voice.


FANFARE: Brian Robins
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Works on This Recording

1.
In furore giustissimae irae in C minor, RV 626 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Andrea Marcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Venice Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
2.
Nulla in mundo pax sincera in E, RV 630 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Andrea Marcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Venice Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
3.
In turbato mare in G major, RV 627 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Andrea Marcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Venice Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
4.
Sum in medio tempestatum, RV 632 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Andrea Marcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Venice Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 

Sound Samples

In furore, R.626: 1. In furore iustissimae (Allegro)
In furore, R.626: 2. Miserationum Pater (Recitativo)
In furore, R.626: 3. Tunc meus fletus (Largo)
In furore, R.626: 4. Alleluia (Allegro)
Nulla in Mundo Pax Sincera: Larghetto "Nulla in mundo pax sincera"
Nulla in Mundo Pax Sincera: Recitativo "Blando colore oculos mundus decepit"
Nulla in Mundo Pax Sincera: Allegro (Aria) "Spirat anguis inter flores"
Nulla in Mundo Pax Sincera: Allegro "Alleluia"
In turbato mare irato, RV 627: Allegro (Aria) "In turbato mare irato"
In turbato mare irato, RV 627: Recitativo "Splende serena, o lux amata"
In turbato mare irato, RV 627: Largetto (Aria) "Resplende, bella divina stella"
In turbato mare irato, RV 627: Allegro "Alleluia"
Sum in medio tempestatum, RV 632: Allegro non molto (Aria) "Sum in medio tempestatum"
Sum in medio tempestatum, RV 632: Recitativo "Quid ergo faciam, infelix anima"
Sum in medio tempestatum, RV 632: Largo (Aria) "Semper maesta, sconsolata"
Sum in medio tempestatum, RV 632: Allegro "Alleluia"

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