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Antonio Vivaldi: Arie Per Basso
11 Jun 2007

VIVALDI: Arie per basso

In 2001 the recording company Naïve and the Istituto per beni musicali in Piemonte began a large-scale undertaking of recording the vast holdings of Vivaldi’s musical library.

Antonio Vivaldi: Arie Per Basso

Lorenzo Regazzo, bass; Concerto Italiano, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Director.

Naïve OP 30415 [CD]

$16.99  Click to buy

A number of the volumes feature the remarkable Concerto Italiano under the direction of Rinaldo Alessandrini, an ensemble whose rhythmic vitality and stylized energy make “Vivaldi” a language that they speak with compelling fluency. In this present recording they are joined by bass Lorenzo Regazzo in a program of opera arias from Armida al campo d’Egitto, Tito Manilo, Orlando furioso, Semiramide, Il Farnace, La Silvia, L’Adelaide, and L’Olimpiade. Regazzo has a wonderfully rich sound, large and powerful, timbrally rewarding, and he wields this sound with an agile articulation and flexibility admirably suited to early eighteenth-century style. His musical, expressive, and emotional ranges are well developed, and given the demands of the program, exercised to full extent.

Some of the arias present Vivaldi in a familiar allegro garb, with rollicking sequences and melismatic acrobatics, such as the reconstructed “ Terribile è lo scempio” from the pastoral drama, La Silvia. The aria “Fiume che torbido” from the same work adds programmatic evocations of a turbulent river, reminding that the composer’s pictorial abilities are found beyond the bounds of the well-known Four Seasons, as well. And while the battle aria “Se il cor guerriero” from Tito Manilo is conventional in its martial rhythms, its harmonic deployment of dissonance makes it a strikingly “modern” stile concitato.

Less conventional and familiar are the mad scene from Orlando furioso and the chilling aria of paternal regret from Il Farnace, “Gelido in ogni vena.” In the former, Vivaldi moves his delusional Orlando between astonishment, rage, and bitter regret in a landscape whose fragmentation bespeaks knightly irrationality. And in “Gelido,” throbbing dissonance and lachrymal descents combine to render the reflections of the filiocidal Farnace haunting and eerie. In both instances we get more than a glimpse of Vivaldi’s dramatic flair—a flair going beyond convention--and a flair to which Regazzo proves engagingly responsive.

Arie per basso is a splendid performance of music that gives due attention both to the toe-tapping familiar Vivaldi and the less well-known, darker and dramatic side of the composer. If the complete series can be maintained at this high level, it will be an impressive achievement, indeed.

Steven Plank

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