Delphine Galou, Accademia Bizantina and Ottavio Dantone Perform on Two New Releases on Naïve Classiques' Vivaldi Edition out July 19, 2019

Delphine Galou, Accademia Bizantina and Ottavio Dantone Perform on Two New Releases on Naïve Classiques' Vivaldi Edition out July 19, 2019

On July 19th, French label Naïve Classiques will release two new volumes in its ambitious Vivaldi Edition, presenting once-lost works of Vivaldi discovered at the Biblioteca Nazionale in Turin.

The 59th and 60th recordings in the series feature contralto Delphine Galou in recital with ensemble Accademia Bizantina under the baton of Ottavio Dantone, with guest artists Alessandro Giangrande, tenor, and concertmaster Alessandro Tampieri.

The discovery of Vivaldi's musical archive, acquired for the Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria in Turin via the Foà and Giordano donations of 1926 and 1930, revealed Antonio Vivaldi to be a prolific and innovative composer with some fifty sacred vocal works to his credit. Musica sacra per alto includes six of these works, including two introdutioni for alto, Filiae maestae Jerusalem (RV 638) and Non in pratis (RV 641), which are in the style of a three movement solo motet -- apparently invented by Vivaldi -- structured as Recitative-Aria-Recitative. Their anonymous poetic texts mix the language and imagery of the Bible and Arcadian verse.

Delphine Galou is joined by tenor Alessandro Giangrande for the Vesper hymn Deus tuorum militum (RV 612) , and violinist Alessandro Tampieri performs the Concerto in re maggiore Per la SSma Assontione di Maria Vergine (RV 582)- written for the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Pietà. That occasion's pomp is signaled by the fact that the orchestra is divided into two sections. Vivaldi's five-movement Salve Regina in G minor (RV 618)- a setting of the Marian antiphon also featuring a divided orchestra - suggests a major occasion, as is also implied by the musical variety and sophistication.

The Antiphon Regina coeli (RV 615) probably dates from 1726, when the death of choirmaster Carlo Luigi Pietragrua made Vivaldi's services as a composer for the Pietà's vocal ensemble indispensable. Vivaldi's autograph score calls for two obbligato "trombe," specially adapted violins that mimic the trumpet. No such violins survive today, so they are replaced by trumpets by the Accademia Bizantina on this recording.

The second disc, Arie e cantate per contralto, showcases operatic arias and chamber cantatas, the most widespread and frequently practiced vocal genres of eighteenth-century Italy. The cantata could be heard in the salons of courts and aristocratic palazzos, but also in the less pretentious drawing rooms of bourgeois dwellings, since in general a voice and a keyboard instrument were all that was required to perform them. The texts, mostly by unknown authors and of unremarkable literary quality, depict shepherds afflicted by the torments of love by cruel, inconstant nymphs (or vice versa). Antonio Vivaldi composed some thirty cantatas from around 1718 to the mid-1730s, including the album's opening Cessate, omai cessate (RV 684) for alto and instrumental accompaniment. From 1718 to 1720, while Vivaldi was acting as the "Maestro di cappella da camera" in the service of Prince Philip of Hesse-Darmstadt, he wrote operas and at least a dozen cantatas.O mie porpore più belle (RV 685), composed in 1719 for the appointment of Count Antonio Giudi di Bagno and Qual in pioggia dorata (RV 686), likely a musical tribute to Prince Philip.

The aria formed the backbone of early eighteenth-century opera. Arie e cantate per contralto presents Delphine Galou's interpretations of "Liquore ingrate" and "Andrò fida e disconsolate," sung by character Servilia in Vivaldi's Tito Manlio (RV 738), "L'innocenza sfortunata,"Ercinio's aria in Tieteberga (RV 737), "Semplice non temer," Damira's aria from La verità in cimento (RV 739), and three arias from La Candace o siano li veri amici (RV 704): character Niceta's "Sì, si bel volto, che v'adoro" and Lagide's "Per dar pace al tuo dolore" and "Care pupille."

Arie e cantate per contralto is completed by Andronico's aria "È pur dolce ad un anima amante" from Vivaldi's "madly epic and romantic opera, Il Giustino." The full opera - Naïve Classiques 58th release in the Vivaldi Edition - was named Disc of the Month in Opera Magazine (UK)'s December 2018 issue.

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