Wonderful Addenda to the Celebrated Gloria
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here are two obscure choral works--obscure by comparison with the famous Gloria RV 589, at least--that deserve almost equal billing, it seems to me. While the notes to this CD claim that the Gloria RV 588 is the equal of its more famous sister, RV 589, that isn't really the case, even though the two works share the same superb concluding choral fugue. The wonderful frame to the Gloria RV 589, with its trumpet declamations, is truly arresting, and some of the solo numbers are just more beautiful than those in RV 588. But RV 588 has a very big and dramatic opening, as well as some brilliant obbligato writing for the trumpet, which will certainly endear it to Vivaldi fans.Better news yet is that the Dixit Dominus RV 595 seems to me on a par with RV 589. It has powerful choruses, lovely solo writing, especially the thrilling alto solos with obbligato trumpet--here sung by countertenor Christopher Robson in a voice so high and clarion-clear that he rivals his partner on the trumpet. If you have a dog around your house, this music will certainly prove an outrage to his ears! You, on the otherhand, should love it.Following Vivaldian tradition, each work has a tripartite Introduzione, the one for the Dixit scored for soprano and orchestra, that for the Gloria featuring alto (countertenor) and orchestra. While most of the solo singing is very good, and Christopher Robson's fairly spectacular, Catherine Bott's contributions are spoiled for me by her rather raspy vocal production, which takes away from the fine Introduzione to the Dixit. But this is the only complaint I can lodge. Indeed, praise is due to the chorus, orchesta, and the engineers in about equal measure. The chorus and instrumentalists perform with real eclat, and the engineers capture well the special brillance of the gut strings in this intimate, nicely detailed recording. And as usual, I like Pickett's way with baroque choral music: straightforward, idiomatic, sympathetic. If you think Vivaldi wrote only one important choral work, this CD will prove the perfect tonic."