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Vivaldi: Vespro A San Marco / Leonardo Garcia Alarcon, Les Agremens

Vivaldi / Ccn / Les Agremens / Garcia Alarcon
Release Date: 07/12/2011 
Label:  Ambronay   Catalog #: 29   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Antonio VivaldiAnonymous
Performer:  Fernando GuimaraesAlejandro MeerapfelFabian SchofrinMaria Soledad,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Agrémens
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



VIVALDI Vespro a San Marco Leonardo Garcia Alarcón, cond; Namur CCh; Les Agrémens (period instruments) AMBRONAY AMY029 (2 CDs: 117:48 Text and Translation) Live: Ambronay 10/2/2010


Vivaldi never wrote a Vesper service. Indeed, though he wrote a fair amount of church music, he never wrote any complete services (such as Monteverdi did, say), nor did he write for St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, as far as we know. The liturgical construction of this recording is an Read more invention of the conductor and is best looked upon as a collection of psalms by Vivaldi that are appropriate to a Vesper service and placed into such a context. For the musicologically curious, these are Dixit Dominus (Ps. 109, RV 807), Confitebor (Ps. 110, RV 596), Beatus vir (Ps. 111, RV 795), Laudate pueri (Ps. 112, RV 600), Lauda Jerusalem (Ps. 147, RV 609), Laetatus sum (Ps. 121, RV 607), and the Magnificat (RV 610). There is also the introductory versicle and response Deus in adiutorium , which may be RV 593.


Some of the music in this collection was unknown until 1974, and as a set of Vesper pieces, this is a fine collection, well done. Leonardo Garcia Alarcón takes fairly brisk tempi and this underlines the essentially joyful aspects of these texts. His many soloists are all very good, but the two fine sopranos, Mariana Flores and Maria Soledad de la Rosa, get the bulk of the work. The 20-voice choir sings refreshingly cleanly, and the largely string orchestra fits delicately, but not shyly, into the overall acoustical scheme. My only disappointment is the utterly wooden and lifeless chanting of the antiphons.


Most of the psalms have been recorded before, notably in Robert King’s complete set (Hyperion). Peter Kopp’s recording of the relatively recently discovered Dixit Dominus (Archiv) was enthusiastically reviewed by Brian Robins ( Fanfare 30:2). I haven’t heard that performance, but this one is a delight. Also delightful is the short Lauda Jerusalem , whose ecstatic soprano roulades are matched by the chorus and orchestra.


This is Vivaldi at his most vivacious and helps us hear more of his fecund invention. Alarcón and his musicians clearly respond closely to this music, and rightly so. The recording is exemplary and the audience even more so (apart from applauding after the Magnificat, before the end of the “service”). If you can only afford one survey of Vivaldi sacred music, make it this one.


FANFARE: Alan Swanson


--------

Imagine sitting for nearly two uninterrupted hours listening solely to sacred choral music by Vivaldi. Normally I would think of that as something that should be on the Geneva Convention's list of forbidden activities. However, this program--and most importantly, its performers--have convinced me that even a lifelong perception can be (relatively) quickly altered. It's certainly not that Vivaldi wrote boring or unremarkable music; it's just that hearing so much of his religious music, with its prescribed Latin texts and set "accompanimental" instrumental style in the choruses, you tend to forget which piece you're listening to after 20 or 30 minutes. And yet, you're constantly reminded that Vivaldi was a master of the catchy--occasionally elegant--melody and buoyant rhythmic invention. And when you have singers and instrumentalists as talented and stylistically savvy as those on this recording, you have something eminently listenable and treasurable.

Projects such as this--here a hypothetical assemblage of Vivaldi's works to make up the Office of Vespers--usually fail in their very presumptuousness, but in this case we are told in no uncertain terms that this program is, rather than some "informed" reconstruction, merely intended as "an evocation" of the Office of Vespers employing Vivaldi's pertinent music. Some of these works have been recorded a zillion times--the Laudate pueri, Magnificat, and Laetatus sum, for instance--but it's nice to have these and the other motets together in this cohesive, expertly performed two-disc package.

More often these works are diminished due to one or more lousy soloists, but that is not the case here--amazingly there is not a weak singer in the group, and highest praise must go to sopranos Maria Soledad de la Rosa and Mariana Flores for their impressive technique and spirited, sensitive interpretations. Likewise, director Leonardo Garcia Alarcón knows a thing or two about tempo and articulation and how to properly explicate the short and snappy Vivaldian phrases within the larger structure of an aria or chorus. And his nimble, finely tuned and polished orchestra is with him all the way. Although there's no indication in the liner notes, the recordings obviously were made from concert performances, and although the audiences are unobtrusive, I wished that the hall reverberation and airy ambience could have been reduced a couple of notches. Nevertheless, this is a first rate release, highly recommended--and you don't have to listen to the whole two hours at once!

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Domine ad adiuvandum me in G major, RV 593 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fernando Guimaraes ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Agrémens
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/02/2010 
Venue:  abbatial church of Ambronay, France 
Length: 5 Minutes 43 Secs. 
2.
Dixit Dominus, RV 807 by Antonio Vivaldi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Agrémens
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/02/2010 
Venue:  abbatial church of Ambronay, France 
Length: 19 Minutes 13 Secs. 
3.
Confitebor tibi Domine in C, RV 596 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Alejandro Meerapfel (), Fabian Schofrin (), Fernando Guimaraes ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Agrémens
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/02/2010 
Venue:  abbatial church of Ambronay, France 
Length: 11 Minutes 0 Secs. 
4.
Beatus Vir, RV 795 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Maria Soledad (), Mariana Flores ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Agrémens
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/02/2010 
Venue:  abbatial church of Ambronay, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 24 Secs. 
5.
Spiritus et anim: Antiphon by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Agrémens
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 10/02/2010 
Venue:  abbatial church of Ambronay, France 
Length: 0 Minutes 31 Secs. 
6.
Laudate pueri Dominum in C minor, RV 600 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Maria Soledad ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Agrémens
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/02/2010 
Venue:  abbatial church of Ambronay, France 
Length: 19 Minutes 17 Secs. 
7.
Fulgebunt justi: [Excerpt] by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Agrémens
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 10/02/2010 
Venue:  abbatial church of Ambronay, France 
Length: 0 Minutes 26 Secs. 
8.
Lauda Jerusalem in E minor, RV 609 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Mariana Flores (), Maria Soledad ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Agrémens
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/02/2010 
Venue:  abbatial church of Ambronay, France 
Length: 6 Minutes 12 Secs. 
9.
Lux perpetua: [Excerpt] by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Agrémens
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 10/02/2010 
Venue:  abbatial church of Ambronay, France 
Length: 0 Minutes 48 Secs. 
10.
Magnificat in G minor, RV 610 by Antonio Vivaldi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Agrémens
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/02/2010 
Venue:  abbatial church of Ambronay, France 
Length: 12 Minutes 19 Secs. 
11.
Oremus ad crucem, antiphona by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Agrémens
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 10/02/2010 
Venue:  abbatial church of Ambronay, France 
Length: 0 Minutes 56 Secs. 
12.
Laetatus sum, RV 607 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Lionel Desmeules (Voice)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Agrémens
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/02/2010 
Venue:  abbatial church of Ambronay, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 11 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Exciting Vivaldi April 11, 2012 By George  D. (Reston, VA) See All My Reviews "If you are tired of Four Seasons or that nasty piccolo concerto then this is the CD that will renew your enjoymnet of Vivaldi. The performance is exciting. The group is obviously having a great time here. There is fire in their playing and it is easy to get involved in the fun. A wonderful new release the makes Vivaldi fun again." Report Abuse
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