- Orchestra: Ensemble Caprice
- Conductor: Matthias Maute
- Composer: Vivaldi
- Audio CD (Oct 25 2011)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Analekta
- ASIN: B005IY3CQ2
- Other Editions: MP3 Download
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #27,257 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Juditha triumphans, RV 644 (excerpts - tracks 1-7)|
|2. ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Concerto in D Minor, RV 566 (tracks 8-10)|
|3. ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Psaume 116 "Laudate Dominum", RV 606 (track 11)|
|4. JAN DISMAS ZELENKA (1679-1745):Oratorio "Gesù al calvario", ZWV 62 (excerpts - tracks 12-13)|
|5. ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Psaume 113 "In exitu Israel", RV 604 (track 14)|
|6. ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Motet "O qui coeli terraeque serenitas", RV 631 (tracks 15-18)|
|7. ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Concerto in D Major, RV 563 (tracks 19-21)|
|8. ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Excerpt from "Gloria", RV 588: "Et in terra pax" (track 22)|
Juditha triumphans from 1716 is the best known of the Vivaldi oratorios (of which only four have survived). Subtitled Sacrum Militare Oratorium, it relates the gruesome Old Testament story of Judith, a beautiful widow chosen by God to put an end to the life of the Assyrian general Holofernes - who was out to destroy her hometown - by decapitating him.
At the time the oratorio was composed, the Republic of Venice was engaged in its 6th war against the Ottoman Empire and despite its ultimate triumph in 1718, the situation looked rather bleak two years earlier after two successive crushing defeats by the strong Ottoman army. In a typical baroque crossover mingling religious and worldly matters on the same battlefield, the oratorio Juditha triumphans was obviously aimed at strengthening the war efforts of the Venetian Republic.
We know that this oratorio was performed at the Ospedale della Pietà , with an all-(young)-woman cast on both vocal and instrumental parts. It could only have added to the already wide range of exotic sensations when the overwhelmed listener heard these young women in nun's habits engaging in musical warfare.
Gloria, RV 588
However, let us not forget that Vivaldi's talent also radiated its light upon the depiction of peace. The intense plea Et in terra pax (from Gloria RV 588), with its gripping harmonic tensions, serves as a worthy final statement for this recording, where war is gradually replaced by the hope for peace.
Psalms, Concertos, Motet
On the road towards peace we encounter brilliant psalm settings with powerful rhythms in choir and orchestra (In exitu Israel RV 604, Laudate Dominum RV 606), two virtuoso concertos for multiple soloists (RV 566 and RV 563) and a beautiful solo motet O qui coeli terraeque serenitas RV 631, praising serenity in heaven and on earth.
Vivaldi entertained a close relationship with Dresden, the Florence of the Elbe, both as a performing artist and as a composer; indeed, his pieces were frequently performed at court. One of his illustrious colleagues in Dresden, Jan Dismas Zelenka, was obviously inspired by Vivaldi's sacred music when he composed the heart-rending lament Misera Madre in which Mary's suffering at the foot of the cross is set for high-voice choir. It becomes quite obvious from the striking dissonances in this piece that the transition from war to peace is not always an easy one...
And just as our plea for peace is here put forward with music from the past, we fervently hope that peace will reign in our present time and the future: Et in terra pax!
© Matthias Maute, Montreal, 2011