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Vivaldi - Gloria · Handel - Gloria · Dixit Dominus / English Baroque Soloists · Monteverdi Choir · Gardiner

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 13, 2001
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Vivaldi - Gloria · Handel - Gloria · Dixit Dominus / English Baroque Soloists · Monteverdi Choir · Gardiner
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  • Vivaldi:  Gloria in D (RV589), Dixit Dominus in D (RV594), and Magnificat in G Minor (RV610)
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  • Vivaldi: Gloria / Bach: Magnificat
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Editorial Reviews

Review

The Gloria in excelsis Deo, recently announced as a newly discovered work by Handel, has actually been known to scholars for many years. Nobody paid it much attention until Professor Hans Joachim Marx of Hamburg University certified the piece as authentic while editing Handel's Latin church music for the ongoing Halle edition of the composer's works. Is it the genuine article? Anthony Hicks, in the excellent booklet notes, seems more judicious than some in his assessment. If it is Handel's, which he considers likely, then it may well belong to his teenage years in Halle, from which almost nothing survives save a Laudate pueri setting. Whatever its provenance, this is a most attractive little work, full of rewards for both performers and listeners.John Eliot Gardiner's interpretation, with Gillian Keith as soloist, has persuaded me of what I wasn't sure on hearing the first recording of the Gloria, that this is indeed authentic Handel. The brilliant acoustic, putting a burnish on the playing of the English Baroque Soloists, together with Keith's assured and sensitive handling of the vocal line throughout, enhances that sense of grand design – can we call it anything so prosaic as 'forward planning'? – at the heart of Handel's best works. It's much easier, too, on this version, to play the association game, with echoes from other pieces in the established canon – a cadence here, an incipit there, a phrase anticipating the Chandos Anthems, the Utrecht Te Deum or even the first English oratorios. Keith is as finely attuned as Gardiner to the interplay of exuberance and pensiveness here, Handel's 'allegro and penseroso' as it were, before he'd even read Milton's poems.This is a heart-stirring performance, which leads naturally to the Dixit Dominus, one of Handel's most demanding vocal works and in essence a tribute, when he'd barely got there, to what the travel brochures call 'the magic of Italy'. The piece, which may have been part of the so-called 'Carmelite Vespers' for which Handel is known to have furnished other compositions, is a stunning mixture of musical learning, homage to earlier styles, practical risk-taking and bold, dramatic effect. Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir do this sort of thing as easily as falling off a log. I'm never quite persuaded that the conductor sees Handel as much more than an inspired circus artist, pulling musical rabbits out of hats and doing operatic triple somersaults, but his approach is unfailingly attention-grabbing and makes us listen to the notes as well as the performers. Solos here are expertly taken by individual choir members and the instrumental sound has a grain and muscle to it which are ideally suited to the restless surge of Handel's invention.The disc begins with what will always be the most popular of Vivaldi's choral works, the Gloria, RV589, probably composed for a thanksgiving Mass for victories over the Turks. There's a fine swashbuckling quality to this performance, but Gardiner manages to avoid making Vivaldi's idiosyncratic musical language seem vulgar or naïve, unearthing the complexities beneath the apparent simplicity and directness of engagement. The pulse of individual movements is beautifully caught, especially in the bouncing 'Laudamus te' and the affecting dialogue of the 'Domine Deus'. Once again the acoustic is lavish, indeed thoroughly Baroque. The disc as a whole offers an excellent illustration of what that much-discussed word actually means in musical terms. Jonathan B. Keates -- From International Record Review - subscribe now
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Product Details

  • Performer: Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, John Eliot Gardiner, The Monteverdi Choir The English Baroque Soloists
  • Audio CD (November 13, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B000050IU0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,818 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 4, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I have Gardiner's old 1978 Gramophone winning recording of Dixit Dominus and it does sound more outgoing and in-your-face than this present recording...the choir being more "aggressive" sounding then, as if they were out to establish a name/reputation for themselves.
This recording is not "disdainful" or "languid!" Far from it! I have several choral conductor friends who appreciate the many subtleties of this recording over the 1978 version by Gardiner or the newer one from Minkowski. The string playing is outstanding...I guess John Eliot now has a deeper understanding of this work after 20 years! I would surmise that he understood that the work's tension not only rests on the voices of the singers and the choir, but also in the orchestral writing as well...listen to the tight crecendos in the string section in movement 5! It's menacing, jubilatory, tempered with enough balance of the intellect that keeps it from becoming "dull"
I see this recording as a valedictory one for John Eliot and his forces...a visionary who doesnt need to show off nor a conductor who's out to impress someone with loud voices and heavily accented/staccato readings(that was him a few decades ago!).
Get this record! Its wonderful stuff! But you also ought to get the 1978 recording of the Dixit Dominus (though it has less music in it, only Handel's Zadok the Priest is included).
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This is the most thoughtful, deeply spiritual account of Vivaldi's Gloria I've ever heard. Tempos are appropriately quick when they should be, slower and contemplative when they should be. The voices are supreme. The instruments are astonishingly rich. No trace of the brass-band kitsch that too many other versions fall into.

For lovers of the Vivaldi Gloria, a must-have.
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Gillian Keith or Emma Kirby? That one will run and run, I imagine. Both this recording by Keith and John Eliot Gardiner and Emma Kirby's radiant performance on the premiere with Laurence Cummings and the Royal Academy of Music's Baroque Orchestra (BIS, June 2001) have much to commend them. For me, Kirby's experience puts her a little ahead, but by contrast Gardiner calls forth richer instrumental tones from his players. We now also have other choices. The Gottingen Handel Festival Edition is a live recording from their 3 June 2001 gala performance with Dominique Labelle, soprano, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and conductor Nicholas McGegan. And the Baroque Academy of Montreal offer another period instrument rendition on Atma Classique (ACD2 2215), accompanied by Bach and Vivaldi 'Glorias'.
Unquestionably, Gardiner's thoughtful account of the 'Dixit Dominus' is to be preferred to the archive one from 1986 on the BIS CD. But why the Vivaldi? There are better versions out there, and Gardiner of all people would have been capable of coming up with another matching Handel offering - say a Motet like 'Saeviat tellus inter rigores' or the Psalm 'Nisi Dominus'.
Still, this is a worthwhile disc. Handel's 'Gloria' is new enough to the general listening public to require a variety of interpretations and approaches. For my money Kirby will remain the benchmark soloist, but Keith has offered a spirited response
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I was looking forward to this CD, but it was a real letdown. The tempos are too hurried which detracts from the grandeur of the music. This applies more to the Vivaldi pieces than the Handel. In some movements it sounds downright frantic.
Also the presence and balance of the recording makes it sound a bit thin for my taste. I'll stick with Pinnock's version as the gold standard.
The Handel pieces do have some great moments, and the star soprano is impressive. Too bad this recording is incosistent in other areas.
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This Soprano is not my favorite. Although she does have the early music sound. I prefer a little less strident straight tone and a little more vibrato in a high soprano's singing. She does tend to be a little flat due to this. But not many options for this recording for around this price. So I'll deal.
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I heard a performance of these amazing choral pieces and wanted a CD. Even though they are performed by different artists, I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I bought another as a gift.
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I was in a choir in high school that performed this music. I am now 60 something, and I wanted to bring back fond memories. This recording filled the bill. I am pleased with it.
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Great digital sound quality, especially on the excellent Dixit Dominus which is all fireworks and invention. Good value and highly recommended.
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