Listening to this album made me think of the other versions of this repertoire I had already heard: good, but unmoving.
It is wondrous that singers can sing from identical scores but the results are always so different. The luxury of music unlike painting or sculpture is its affordability to be reconstituted, interpreted, recreated, reconfigured, and/or deconstructed. Musical masterpieces are perhaps the most intangible and subjective art forms. Thus barroque music cannot dwell in museums like a Mona Lisa or a David because the recordings of its masterpieces premiered by the composers themselves do not exist. Privileged were the ears of royalty, aristocracy, and the church of the 18th century that actually lived this music and bore witness to the master performance. Except for them, no one will ever know with exactitude how Vivaldi and his muses rendered this work for the first time.
While other versions are enjoyable, this album in particular mirrors a much clear reflection of beauty of the orchestration and vocals. The masterpiece has been done justice.
Robert King's placement of Sum In Medio Tempestatum as the opening track is as clever as showcasing the Guernica at the entrance of a Picasso exhibit: nearly impossible to get passed it, and too mesmerizing to move away from it. This motet might as well be Tuva Semmingsen's signature performance. Her timbre is pure, flowingly melodic, and hands-down otherworldly. She delivers the complexities of the allegro non molto with finesse, perfect metric, and a credible rendition worthy of a masterpiece.
This collection of sacred works embodies not just great music, but an ensemble of diverse voices delicately and sensibly chosen.