musica Dei donum
"Antonio Vivaldi: Dixit Dominus"
Roberta Invernizzib, soprano;
Sara Mingardod, contralto;
Thomas Cooleyf, tenor;
Sergio Forestig, Georg Zeppenfeldh, bass
Körnerscher Sing-Verein, Dresdner Instrumental-Concert
Dir: Peter Kopp
rec: January 2006, Dresden, Lukaskirche
Archiv - 00289 477 6145 (© 2006) (68'28")
Baldassare Galuppi (1706-1785):
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741):
Dixit Dominus (RV 807)abcdef
When the music of Vivaldi was rediscovered, about 50 years ago, only his instrumental music was performed. It took some time
to discover that the master of the Italian concerto also had composed religious music worth performing and recording. Since
then some of his religious compositions have reached considerable popularity. Among Vivaldi's religious output there are quite
a number of works for the Vesper liturgy. Dixit Dominus, a setting of Psalm 110 (109), is one of them. So far two
settings of this text by Vivaldi were known, RV 594 and 595. The RV number of the setting recorded here shows it is a late
discovery and was only recently added to the catalogue.
The booklet doesn't quite make clear whether this piece was known before or was only discovered recently. It is clear, though,
that it wasn't immediately recognized as a composition by Vivaldi, as in the manuscript it was attributed to Baldassare Galuppi.
In the 1750's or 1760's the Roman-Catholic court in Dresden was looking for new religious music from Italy. Some music was
ordered from the best-known copying shop in Venice, which was owned by a priest, Don Giuseppe Baldan. He sent some pieces
by Vivaldi, but attributed them to Baldassare Galuppi, by then the most famous composer in Venice, and generally known by his
nickname, 'Buranello'. This Dixit Dominus was only identified as a work by Vivaldi in 2005 by the Australian scholar
Janice Stockigt. It is one of four compositions by Vivaldi from the Sächsische Staatsbibliothek in Dresden which are falsely
attributed to Galuppi.
It is a long and brilliant composition, which is divided into choruses and solo passages, often of a very virtuosic character. The
tenor aria 'Dominus a dextris tuis', for instance, is like a movement from a violin concerto: the tenor gets hardly any time to
breathe. Paul Agnew deals with this problem admirably. There is some text expression as well: the second movement ('Donec
ponam'- "I shall make of your enemies a footstool for you") is dominated by descending figures, and the solo part is
appropriately given to the alto. The orchestra depicts the rippling of the water in the 8st movement ('De torrente'): "He will
drink from a brook by the way ...".
In the booklet Vivaldi expert Michael Talbot explains what the reasons are to believe that this piece was composed by Vivaldi.
But even when one doesn't read his arguments and just listens to the work itself its Vivaldian character is obvious. It is very
hard to believe, for instance, that the tenor aria I referred to before could been written by someone other than Vivaldi.
Even if this piece had been composed by Baldassare Galuppi there would be no reason to ignore it, considering its excellent
quality. And the remaining compositions on this disc - also three Psalm settings which are part of the Vesper service, this time
really written by Galuppi - are of considerable quality as well, and show that Galuppi was a fine composer. Stylistically they
belong to a different era, which is demonstrated by the frequent alternation of soli and tutti within movements. "This flexibility
looks forward to the church music of Joseph Haydn and his contemporaries, who undoubtedly learned a lot from Galuppi,
technically and aesthetically", Michael Talbot writes. It has to be added, though, that there is alternation of this kind in some
movements of Vivaldi's Dixit Dominus as well, which have led to the assumption this setting is a work from late in
In Galuppi we find some interesting text illustration as well: in Nisi Dominus the orchestra depicts the flight of the
arrow ("like arrows in the hand of the mighty are the children of one's youth"). Melismas are written on words like 'somnum'
(sleep - Nisi Dominus) and 'aquae' (waters - Lauda Jerusalem). And 'panem doloris' (bread of sorrows) is
expressed by dissonance chords. One of the most moving parts is the 'Gloria patri' from Nisi Dominus, set as an aria
for soprano, breathtakingly sung by Roberta Invernizzi.
The music on this disc is of great beauty, and receives the best possible performance here. I have only mentioned two of the
soloists by name, but the others are just as good. I knew the choir from recordings with German music, and I had a positive
impression of its quality, but here it even surpasses its previous performances. And the Dresdner Instrumental-Concert gives a
strong and colourful reading of the orchestral parts, showing performing Italian music appropriately isn't a prerogative of Italian
Johan van Veen (© 2007)