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Vivaldi: Mottetti / De Marchi, Academia Montis Regalis

Vivaldi / Academia Montis Regalis / De Marchi
Release Date: 06/29/2010 
Label:  Naive   Catalog #: 30501   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Anke HerrmannLaura Polverelli
Conductor:  Alessandro De Marchi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academia Montis Regalis
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is Opus 111’s first volume of motets for solo voice and string orchestra, perhaps not the best-known part of the composer’s sacred output, but certainly one that is capable of providing a disc’s worth of attractive and buoyant music. One of them, the sweet-natured Nulla in mundo pax sincera, has become relatively familiar thanks to a treasurable recording made by the young Emma Kirkby and its resulting use in the film Shine, but its companions are scarcely less deserving of fame. Their music ranges from the energetic virtuosity of the warlike Invicti, bellate, the nightingale-impersonating Canta in prato, ride in monte or almost any of these works’ concluding Alleluias, to the touching tenderness of the central arias of O qui coeli Read more terraeque serenitas and Longe mala, umbrae terrores...the whole makes an attractive package, and, for newcomers, a handy and seductive introduction to the bold world of Vivaldi’s vocal music.

– Gramophone, reviewing an earlier release of this recording

This collection of six motets--sacred but non-liturgical works for solo singer--are all constructed the same way: aria, recitative, aria, Alleluia, with strings-only accompaniment. Aside from the obvious samenesses, however, and the fact that every moment is instantly recognizable as Vivaldi, there is enough variety here. The vocal lines are all difficult and most are madly florid. Vivaldi's way of painting words with tonal emphasis is a joy, and good melodies abound.

In the first motet, the second aria, asking "celestial dew" to descend and take away all sorrow, is a lovely, lilting tune. The unusual first aria of the fifth motet, "Invicti bellate" (Fight on unvanquished), begins commonly enough with martial low strings--but then, upon the entry of the text the voice riffs above a long-held tone for 25 seconds. It's riveting. This flows without pause into the following recitative on a flourish of trumpet-like strings. The last motet begins with a lulling aria in the rhythm of a siciliana (it's about the peace Jesus brings). The recit is florid, the next aria more-so, and the concluding Alleluia bizarrely-so. Throughout the motets, as the voice part becomes more ornate the string accompaniment gets simpler. The singers sometimes add embellishments.

Beginning with one for mezzo, the six motets are presented for alternating voices. Soprano Anke Herrmann, aside from the occasional miscalculation on a pianissimo note, is a real find. Her sound is lovely, her articulation is spectacular, and she's fearless when it comes to staccatos, upward and downward scales, and long-breathed phrases. Mezzo-soprano Laura Polverelli has serious pitch problems and some trouble integrating registers, particularly at first. Though she improves as the CD progresses, she doesn't leave an especially good impression. Alessandro de Marchi leads crisply and the Academia Montis Regalis plays with verve. The recording leaves the orchestra somewhat in the background, but then again, its role is smaller than that of the singers.

– Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com, reviewing an earlier release of this recording
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Works on This Recording

1. Longe mala umbrae terrores in G minor, RV 629 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Anke Herrmann (Soprano), Laura Polverelli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Alessandro De Marchi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academia Montis Regalis
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
2. O qui coeli, RV 631 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Anke Herrmann (Soprano), Laura Polverelli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Alessandro De Marchi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academia Montis Regalis
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
3. Vestro principi divino in F major, RV 633 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Anke Herrmann (Soprano), Laura Polverelli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Alessandro De Marchi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academia Montis Regalis
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
4. Canta in prato by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Anke Herrmann (Soprano), Laura Polverelli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Alessandro De Marchi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academia Montis Regalis
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
5. Invicti bellate in G major, RV 628 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Anke Herrmann (Soprano), Laura Polverelli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Alessandro De Marchi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academia Montis Regalis
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
6. Nulla in mundo pax sincera in E, RV 630 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Anke Herrmann (Soprano), Laura Polverelli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Alessandro De Marchi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academia Montis Regalis
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 

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