Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Armida al campo d'Egitto

As well as sacred works, Rinaldo Alessandrini has recorded two of Vivaldi's operas, L'Olimpiade in 2002, and, in March this year, Armida al campo d'Egitto. I mentioned in an earlier post his unique way of working with his singers and musicians, which involves building up a close working relationship over a long period of time. He shuns international ''star' singers, preferring to work with a close-knit group, all Italian. The impression, which is borne out in the promotional clip below, is that they understand exactly what he is trying to achieve in these recordings, indeed almost of a secret society, with everyone working to the same end.

You may well rub your eyes but, yes, it's true: the location is the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music in Rome!

Alessandrini's vision of Vivaldi's music is tactile, even sensual, orientated towards a physical experience of time itself (just watch how he conducts!). In my view this recording represents a milestone in the deepening of our understanding of this music. I look forward for comparison to the release next month of Fabio Biondi's recording of Ercole su'l Termodonte, with the wonderful Vivica Genaux (of whom more anon).

Around 45 operas by Vivaldi have survived (though not all complete). Of these at a guess around 2 dozen have been committed to disc. Vivaldi himself boasted of having written 94! - and lost works are being rediscovered all the time, including, recently, a flute concerto in Scotland! Who knows what joys await us?

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