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Vivaldi: Dixit Dominus, Beatus Vir / Stephen Cleobury


Release Date: 01/12/2010 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 414495   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  John Shirley-QuirkIan PartridgeHelen WattsIsobel Buchanan,   ... 
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber OrchestraCambridge King's College Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 business days.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

I have always had a particular affection for the larger of Vivaldi's two settings of Beatus vir. My first encounter of it was through an antique and long-deleted mono LP made in the early fifties by the late Hans Grischkat (Vox PL7 I 40, 4/53). Its strength, though, lay more in the solo contributions—Friederike Sailer (soprano) almost invariably lent enchantment to performances of baroque music in which she participated—than in the choral singing. The same cannot be said of this new release, where the choral element is so vital and so lucid that I almost began to wonder if I was listening to the same work. The use of ripieno male altos in this repertoire may, of course, be questioned on historical grounds but in this instance they are Read more naturally an inseparable part of the package and, anyway, are very good indeed.

It's some time now since a new recording of these psalm settings has appeared in the catalogue. The most recent performances were conducted by Vittorio Negri (also with the English Chamber Orchestra—Philips 6768 016, 12/78), and were issued as part of an eight-record set of Vivaldi's sacred vocal music. Negri understood the music's potential whilst clearly conscious of its drama, but he perhaps never quite realized it in performance. Stephen Cleobury certainly achieves that in his direction which produces often sparkling results. The English Chamber Orchestra respond admirably to the richly varied character of what are two of Vivaldi's most impressive vocal compositions in due con. Aspects of these readings which I particularly enjoyed are Cleobury's unfailingly effective choice of tempos and the importance which he attaches to clean ensemble and transparent textures. There is, in short, an invigorating freshness and enthusiasm about the singing and playing which bring the music to life very naturally. The "Paratum cor eius" of Beatus vir is a fine example of Cleobury's choral direction at its most convincing; but there are strong solo contributions as well, with some notably clear articulation from Ian Partridge in the "Peccator videbit" of the same work.

The digital recording is clear and picks up not only plenty of nuances in the performances themselves, but also captures the unique acoustic of King's College Chapel. All in all, a sparkling account of Vivaldi's music in which only those with the most tenaciously held prejudices concerning baroque performance practice will find no pleasure.

-- Gramophone [5/1986]
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Works on This Recording

1. Beatus vir in C major, RV 597 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk (Baritone), Ian Partridge (Tenor), Helen Watts (Alto),
Isobel Buchanan (Soprano), Jennifer Smith (Soprano)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Language: Latin 
2. Dixit Dominus in D major, RV 594 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk (Baritone), Ian Partridge (Tenor), Helen Watts (Alto),
Jennifer Smith (Soprano), Isobel Buchanan (Soprano)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Language: Latin 

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