There are several volumes of Vivaldi’s Sacred Choral Music and my recommendation is to start with a single CD. Number one is a good place to start. Personally, I enjoy this vocal music, but I recommend listening to samples (if possible) before making a purchase. Some of these CDs are not easy to find and are becoming quite expensive to own. The following review mirrors my opinion of this collection of Vivaldi’s sacred compositions.
“This is the first of 05 PHILIPS CD collection (420 648-2 to 652-2) and are among the best aviable. Altough recorded in the mid 70′s and sometimes little heavy handed for 2005 Vivaldi lovers, it still very enjoyable. They are either difficult to find. Since the CD #1 to the last one, I took 15 years to complete the pack. On Amazon I have searched many times for #3 03, buying it, at last, this in July/2002. It’s a great pack.
Vivaldi is well known for his nearly 450 string concertos specially for the first four of the 12 “Il cemento de l’armonia e invenzioni” commonlly known as the “Four Seasons”, sold by thousands worldwide. Not so familiar are the choral works, wrote on the La Pieta charitable institution on Venice between 1703-17, most of them constituted by Psalms settings for choral and orchestra (Psalms 69,111,115,121,110,etc), and maybe the most popular is certainly the Glória RV589 recorded here in the first CD. The conductor Negri is what we call a “Vivaldologist” and pick by his fingers the ideal players he wants to make this job. And they are really fantastic: tenor Anthony Rolfe Johnson, sopranos Margaret Marshall and Felicity Lott, contralto Ann Murray, a great John Aldis Choir and an excellent English Chamber Orchestra. The recordings are crystal clear and the ADD bass register is inspiring. You just have to seat and enjoy. The booklet is presented in four languages and give many historical details of the pieces, by Mr. Michel Talbot. On the series you’ll see some compact works for one and for two choir and two orchestras together (these lasts were masterlly wrote, like Lauda jerusalem RV609 (on this CD) and “Domine ad adiuvandum me” RV593 (on disc 04); The same formation is used for longer settings like the Beatus Vir RV 597 (on disc 04) and Laudate Pueri on this CD. The reflexive movements like the openings of the Magnificats RV 610 (on disc 04) and RV611 (on disc 02) make you fell in heaven. Some other recording labels like Archive and ASV you find some sets of this collection recorded on CD. The ASV team are either very fine with brisk tempos and a modern approach of the pieces. Their is another good option, if you can find them. Hyperion have released a 10 CD complete collection with Robert King in a modern light view of these works in a excellent playing and recording. You can find them on Amazon (ASIN B00009WQUZ).
I rate this collection 5 star considering the virtuosity of the players, the quality of the recording and the scarcity of these items on the marketplace (even on Amazon). I do recomend you listen to them (many, many times if possible) especially if you are a sacred-choral /Vivaldi-lover-admirer and are fond of the everlasting Word of God. Good listening. Capezio”