Magazine article Gramophone

Classic Dixit Pairing from Bates's London Ensemble

Magazine article Gramophone

Classic Dixit Pairing from Bates's London Ensemble

Article excerpt

Handel * Vivaldi

Handel Dixit Dominus, HWV232 Vivaldi Dixit Dominus, RV807. In furore, RV626 (a)

(a) Lucy Crowe, Augusta Hebbert, Helen-Jane Howells, Anna Dennis sops Christopher Lowrey counterten Simon Wall, Tom Raskin tens James Arthur bass La Nuova Musica/David Bates

Harmonia Mundi (F) (SACD) HMU80 7587 (64' * DDD/DSD)

This is, incredibly, the sixth commercial recording of Vivaldi's Dixit Dominus, RV807, in less than a decade since the Dresden manuscript misattributed to Galuppi was identified as the work of the Red Priest. David Bates logically twins Vivaldi's psalm-setting with Handel's celebrated version composed for an unknown Roman occasion in 1707, thus illustrating that the dissimilar composers' musical styles are chalk and cheese. We hear Vivaldi's mastery over sonorities in 'Donec ponam inimicos' (with plangent soloistic lines from La Nuova Musica's altos and basses), the gently swaying breeziness of the light-hearted tenor duet 'Tecum principium' and the charismatic trumpet fanfare that commences 'Judicabit in nationibus'.

Handel offers greater rhetorical drama but Bates wisely judges that the pace of the opening chorus should be dictated by the singers' natural declamation of the line 'Sede adextris meis' rather than the commonplace temptation of rushing at the introductory ritornello like an irritable bull in a china shop; there is less wisdom in Christopher Lowrey's prolonged high note in 'Virgam virtutis' but Anna Dennis's 'Tecum principium' is solemnly eloquent. I am not entirely sold on the French-style over-dotting in 'Judicabit in nationibus' but the 15-strong choir packs plenty of punch at 'conquassabit capita' and in the tautly controlled doxology. …

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