22 Dec 2006

VIVALDI: Dixit Dominus, RV 807
GALUPPI: Laetatus Sum; Nisi Domine; Lauda Jerusalem

This disc presents the first recording of a work newly ascribed to the Red Priest (by musicologist Janice Stockigt), the Dixit Dominus held at the State Library of Saxony in Dresden, where it was ascribed to Vivaldi’s younger Venetian colleague, Baldassare Galuppi (who is experiencing a renaissance of late, with various new discs of operas and sacred works).

It is coupled here with three works by the latter held in the same library, also premieres, as far as I can tell.

Conductor Peter Kopp founded the K√∂rnerscher Sing-Verein (a mixed chorus of about thirty voices) in 1993, and the group has two previous discs for Carus, both of 18th-century music for Christmas from Dresden. With a well-tuned and light choral sound, they make a good impression here, as does the accompanying band, on period instruments.Kopp’s tempi tend to be on the quick side, though rarely sounding rushed (the exception being the Tecum principium of the Vivaldi, for two tenors). I could well imagine these works making a more charming impression with a less-hurried pace, especially the very galant psalms of Galuppi. These are not profound works, but nevertheless Kopp could dig deeper for inflections. One gets the impression that one is skimming over the surface.

The vocal soloists are fluent and bright, the exception being the contralto Sara Mingardo, with what sound to me like artificially darkened vowels. Here she is out of context. Paul Agnew displays an excellent coloratura in the Dominus a dextris tuis of the Vivaldi.

To sum up, a worthwhile exploration of little-known music, that sheds some light on the styles leading to the creations of the Viennese masters of the close of the century.

Tom Moore