Superb sacred music from Vivaldi

A selection of Vivaldi's sacred music, including Gloria and Nisi Dominus, is wonderfully performed by The King's Consort and a variety of soloists

Composer: Vivaldi
Repertoire: Sacred Music Vol.10
Artists: Soloists, The King’s Consort/Robert King
Rating: 5/5
Genre: Vocal/Instrumental
Label: Hyperion CDA 66849

By treating Vivaldi’s sacred works as singer’s music, Robert King has done a huge service to the Venetian composer and an area of his output all too often marred by second-rate soloists and choirs. The 10th and final volume in King’s Vivaldi edition wears its sense of period style with a comfort and ease that draws the ear towards the substance of the music making, not the nuts and bolts of authenticity. Relaxed speeds and rhythmic flexibility are turned to advantage in the Gloria RV589, widely known thanks to its use in the film Shine. Sample Joyce Didonato’s flowing performance of the Qui sedes section, delivered at a sparky tempo, or the lucid, beautifully shaped Cum sancto fugue. This is a welcome world away from the aggressive worlds of Rinaldo Alessandrini and John Eliot Gardiner.

This album’s five-star status is further supported by its inclusion of the premiere recording of Vivaldi’s recently rediscovered Nisi Dominus. Instrumental colour and vocal virtuosity are here harnessed by the composer to drive his setting of the psalm text Unless the Lord builds a house, its verses treated to a dazzling variety of emotional effects and tonal contrasts.