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Thread: Vivaldi operas & vocal music box sets

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    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Default Vivaldi operas & vocal music box sets

    Quite a bit of ground to cover here. First, I must say that this is another of those potentially huge personal discoveries. I really thought I'd have nothing to do with Vivaldi after the brain death produced by the ubiquitous four seasons, but that was because I'd never heard any of his vocal music. Now, I have. Whether he will make the same impact as Handel on me, I don't know. I guess he won't; but I might as well give up predicting how my tastes will change - my track record is so poor!

    I've been looking for some time at the set of CDs produced by King's Consort on Hyperion which, in total, cover all of Vivaldi's sacred music. Listening to the many, many samples on Hyperion's website, I came to the conclusion that a lot of this music was right up my street, and very lovely indeed. You can get the whole set in a single box, but at 75 full price that was a huge investment. Even on Amazon the cheapest I could find was 60.



    Then today I discovered that Hyperion have started a new sale on ALL their CDs. The price of the Vivaldi box set was reduced to 66. Still too much - right? But on purchases over 60 from the Hyperion website, you get a discount of 25%. And sure enough, when I pushed a box set through to the online checkout, the price asked, including postage, was less than 50. So I bought one. If you've ever been tempted by this set, now's the time to buy one.
    Last edited by Elgarian; Jul-01-2009 at 23:18.

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    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    I was alerted to the fact that the recording project on the Naive Opus111 label was a very different and more authentic approach in comparison to King's Consort, so I've been giving a listen to this:




    This gets a head start because Magdalena Kozena sings the title role, and I think she's marvellous. But this set does take some getting used to. The acoustic is more than usually reverberant, and this particularly seems to affect the vocals more than the instruments. I find I do get used to it after about 5 minutes, but it's not something everyone would like, I think.

    Certainly I'm having no trouble enjoying this set (3 CDs). Sometimes it all gets a bit over the top and screechy - but there are also passages of great beauty; and I'm enjoying this enough to be planning to try an opera in addition to this oratorio, from the same series. Orlando Furioso is what I have my eye on. More anon.


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    Senior Member Ciel_Rouge's Avatar
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    I am familiar with the "naive" label for his cello concertos. As far as vocal Vivaldi is concerned, I strongly recommend this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bxp74hB-4Zw

    http://www.amazon.com/Best-Andreas-S...6484275&sr=8-2





    I am also not so sure if you really hate the Four Seasons, perhaps you are just put off by the dreaded beginning which has been overplayed and dumbed down far too often. Nonetheless, it does contain slower movements that are definitely heart-breaking in a baroque kind of way, especially in the autumn and winter parts. And if you get a good performance like Carmignola's, you might even eventually warm up to the introductory movement as well.

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    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciel_Rouge View Post
    I am also not so sure if you really hate the Four Seasons, perhaps you are just put off by the dreaded beginning which has been overplayed and dumbed down far too often. Nonetheless, it does contain slower movements that are definitely heart-breaking in a baroque kind of way, especially in the autumn and winter parts. And if you get a good performance like Carmignola's, you might even eventually warm up to the introductory movement as well.
    Thanks for the links, Ciel.

    The Four Seasons was one of the old vinyl LPs that I threw out and never replaced with a CD, though in fact it squirmed its way back into my collection when I bought the Deutsch Harmonia Mundi 50 CD box set - so I can't win. However, I am particularly concerned with exploring the vocal music right now; this is where the real revelations are coming for me.

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    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Well, they don't dilly-dally, those Hyperion people. The Vivaldi box set arrived this morning and I've been listening to the first two CDs. Make no mistake, this is exquisite music. Obviously the mood is continually changing, but the sense of joy in the good things of life is never very far away. There's a review quote on the back of the booklet that describes these recordings as 'brilliant, invigorating, uplifting'. And on the basis of what I've heard so far, they are - that's no exaggeration. The music (the quote continues) 'shines like a beacon in a dark world that has largely lost the ability to engage with spiritual celebration'. Yes, and yes.

    The soloists are gorgeous. So far I've heard Deborah York (soprano), Catherine Denley (contralto), Susan Gritton (soprano), Lisa Milne (soprano), James Bowman (counter tenor) ... oh, you get the picture - and they seem to have the measure of this music completely, singing with a sensitivity that warms the heart. It sweeps from being exciting at one end of the spectrum, to delicate and tearful at the other.

    On the whole I prefer NOT to get too involved with the words. Translations from the Latin are provided, and I have difficulty swallowing this sort of thing:'In wrath and most just anger/you divinely exercise power./When you punish me in my guilt/the crime itself hears you in your mercy.' I'm afraid this makes me want to blow a rasberry at the autocratic divine punisher, but fortunately such masochistic texts are rare!

    I can't believe that after all these years, I'm listening to a box set of Vivaldi's sacred music, and loving it. Just a few years ago, I would have said it was quite impossible. If you're tempted, there's no better time to buy one. As I said above, it costs less than 50 direct from Hyperion during July. There are samples from every track on every CD here:
    Samples

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    Senior Member Ciel_Rouge's Avatar
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    Elgarian, remember when someone posted an identification request for a piece played on a "Wedding TV" video? To me it sounded like a combination of fiery Vivaldi violin and Mozartian chorus singing very Requiem-like. Does it ring a bell NOW? Then we all thought it was some kind of pastiche but it turns out it might be one of the pieces on your new set - I guess it would be fun to give it a try:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=FR&hl=fr&v=By-CIvBM4sU

    The question was asked in what was then the only identification thread we had:

    Identifying music - thread

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    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciel_Rouge View Post
    Elgarian, remember when someone posted an identification request for a piece played on a "Wedding TV" video? To me it sounded like a combination of fiery Vivaldi violin and Mozartian chorus singing very Requiem-like. Does it ring a bell NOW? Then we all thought it was some kind of pastiche but it turns out it might be one of the pieces on your new set - I guess it would be fun to give it a try:
    Well, I've still got a long way to go! One of the striking things about some of this music is how modern it sounds; the fiddles can really blast along with a fiery rhythm. So although my first response to listening again to that bit of youtube is that it sounds like a kind of reconstructed 'modern baroque' - well, so does Vivaldi, often!

    I can't pick out any words in the choral bits in the youtube - can't even tell if it's in Latin. But if it suddenly leaps out at me from one of my new CDs, you'll be the first to know!

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