Thursday, 6 March 2008

72. Antonio Vivaldi - Juditha Triumphans (1716)


Title: Juditha Triumphans
Performers: Ann Murray, Maria Cristina Kiehr, Choir of the King's Consort, King's Consort
Director: Robert King
Year: 1992
Length: 2 hours 20 minutes


This is Vivaldi's only surviving Oratorio, and what a remarkable piece it is. As usual Vivaldi dazzles as much by the instrumentation as by the use of voices, particularly striking here are the uses of sometimes quite sparse but very effective instrumentations for arias.

This is a work that is at the same time fierce, contemplative, meditative, furious and triumphant. Vivaldi shows himself to be a master at invoking all these feelings throughout the oratorio.

Of course the recitatives hinder the pace somewhat, but they are always short enough not to make you skip the track, and after all they are integral to the work. It is a pity that no other oratorio by Vivaldi survived as this is an amazing and very forward looking work, parts here foreshadow the classical period, not all sounds baroque here, the accompaniment of arias with a simple woodwind instrument(a precursor of the clarinet whose name escapes me) tune or violla d'amore with a fully developed part for the instruments as important as the singer's is also reflective of something different in Vivaldi's music. Highly Recommended.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Juditha triumphans was composed and performed in November of 1716 in Venice by the orchestra and choir of the Ospedale della Pietà and is described as his first great oratorio. The work was commissioned to celebrate the victory of the Republic of Venice over the Turks during the siege of Corfu. In July 1716, the Turks had landed on Corfu and set siege to the island. The population resisted the occupation and in August, Venice signed an alliance with the Emperor. On 18 August, under the leadership of count Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg, the decisive battle was won and the Turks abandoned the island.

Juditha Triumphans was represented at the Pietà in November and was a great success. The story of Judith and her victory on the invading Holofernes was an allegory of Venice defeating the invading Turks in Corfu. The victorious General von der Schulenburg was among the audience.

Armatea face et anguibus:

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