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Rinaldo Alessandrini and Concerto Italiano go for the full theatrical thrill of Vivaldi's Vespers
Repertoire: Vespers for the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Artists: Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini
Label: Opus 111 30383 (2CD)
Although fans of the Red Priest are now faced with a dizzying choice of new issues of works rescued from the archives, this speculative recreation of Vespers, as Vivaldi might have conceived it, stands out from the crowd thanks to a beguiling combination of strengths. First, the detective work and meticulous preparation required to piece together a succession of individual compositions to make a complete Vespers for the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin should whet any listener’s appetite. And then the delivery in performance more than lives up to expectations raised by the promise of a ‘new’ work by Vivaldi. Rinaldo Alessandrini and Concerto Italiano are backed to the hilt by sopranos Roberta Invernizzi and Anna Simboli and the divine contralto Sara Mingardo. The vivid musical imagery and emotional force of Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus, for example, bring out the best in all concerned, as does the composer’s near-operatic Magnificat setting. Top marks also to Opus 111 for the recorded sound quality and for preserving this wonderful performance on disc.