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Vivaldi: Juditha Triumphans (Vivaldi Edition) Box set

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, October 9, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

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Vivaldi may be best remembered for his virtuosic concertos but, as anyone familiar with his famous D major Gloria will know, he also had a real ear for vocal sonorities. His only surviving oratorio, Juditha Triumphans, has until recently been a well-kept secret. The biblical story of Judith overcoming Holofernes and his army (beheading him herself--no shrinking violet she) was popular with both librettists and composers, offering plenty of opportunities for exuberant tub-thumping. And these Vivaldi seizes eagerly, the opening rabble-rousing chorus (here preceded by a sinfonia reconstructed by Vivaldi scholar Michael Talbot) setting the tone in truly martial fashion.

However, Juditha also abounds in reflective numbers, something at which Vivaldi excels. Perhaps the most striking examples are the ethereal "turtle dove" aria ("Veni sequere fida"), with our heroine beautifully accompanied by a chalumeau (a precursor of the clarinet), the tranquil "Vivat in pace," and the sublime "Umbrae carae", here lyrically sung by Marina Comparato. The all-female lineup (five solo characters plus, on this particular recording, an all-female chorus) is a strong one. And, vitally, the soloists are well-differentiated, each with immediately recognizable timbres. Magdalena Kozena is fruity in the title role: not the kind of voice you'd necessarily associate with this repertoire, but it does turn a potentially smug heroine into one of real flesh and blood. Maria José Trullu is an opulent Holofernes, while Anke Herrmann's Abra is attractively mellow voiced. Downers? Just one--the recorded sound, which is too echoey. Overall, though, this is a fine performance of a great work and one that deserves a place on the shelves of every lover of Baroque music. --Harriet Smith

Review

The tenth volume of Opus 111's Vivaldi edition, which aims to record all 450 works from the Foà and Giordano manuscript collections now in Turin, is the 1716 oratorio Juditha Triumphans. This is Vivaldi's best-known large-scale choral work today (and his only extant oratorio) and has been recorded quite a few times in the last half-century: by Angelo Ephrikian, Alberto Zedda, Ferenc Szekeres, Vittorio Negri, Nicholas McGegan and Robert King; these last two are on period instruments.The work is emphatically patriotic in content, and retells the Apocrypha story of Judith and Holofernes in terms of Venice's then-current war with the Ottomans. Giacomo Cassetti's Latin libretto explicitly assigns equivalent roles, with heroine Judith as the Adriatic, the tyrant Holofernes as the Emperor of the Turks and so on, the victory of Judith presaging the triumph of the Venetian fleet. With a theme of such direct contemporary relevance, Vivaldi gives rein to a sequence of imaginatively scored arias of an operatic nature. Even if the result is somewhat stagey, with not much actual drama evident between the protagonists, the music is often of very high quality.As Juditha Triumphans was written for his pupils at the Venetian orphanage of the Ospedale della Pietà, all the solo roles are for high voices ('tenors' and 'basses' are found in the chorus only, but were probably – as here – sung by women also). As if to make up for this limited vocal palette, Vivaldi drew on the variety and talent of the celebrated Ospedale instrumentalists, and scored the work for recorders, oboes, chalumeaux, trumpets, drums, mandolin, theorbos, viola d'amore, solo organ, strings and continuo. There is no surviving sinfonia, so Alessandro De Marchi has used the Sinfonia, RV562, to preface the work. He has also taken advantage of the very latest research on pitch, harpsichord continuo style, instrumentation and performing practice; all this is explained in detail in the comprehensive booklet notes.Previous recordings of the work have usually stood or fallen by their approach to the dramatic content; it is here that the older 1974 Negri recording scores over McGegan, and King is better still, with the advantage of a consistently excellent cast and band plus a fine modern recording. Alessandro De Marchi's Coro da Camera dell'Accademia di Santa Cecilia and Academia Montis Regalis, too, are on excellent form, and his five soloists spare no effort in characterizing their roles. Judith's lamenting aria 'Veni, me sequere fida', with its lovely chalumeau obbligato (played by Lorenzo Coppola), is affectingly sung by Ko?ena. De Marchi's approach is refined rather than boisterous – by comparison with some of his countrymen's approach to Vivaldi – and nothing is rushed or flippant: the prayerful final chorus of Act 1, 'Mundi Rector de caelo micanti', the chorus set at a slight distance, is a case in point. Yet the actual decapitation scene, 'Impii, indigni Tiranni' (one does not need any translation to understand the text at this point!) is full of bite and passion: one can almost feel the sword strokes on Holofernes's neck. The following revenge aria from Holofernes's steward Vagaus (Comparato on virtuoso form) is also very dramatically done.Although De Marchi's version spreads onto three discs, which puts it at a price disadvantage to its rivals, this is overall the best recording of this splendid work so far. With so very many discs to come in this edition, one hesitates to commend the entire series to collectors, but this set certainly has strong claims on Vivaldians. Francis Knights -- From International Record Review - subscribe now

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Sinfonia: Allegro
  2. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Sinfonia: Grave
  3. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Arma, caedes, vindicatae, furores'
  4. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Felix en fausta dies'
  5. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Nil arma, nil bella'
  6. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Mi Dux, Domine mi...'
  7. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Matrona inimica'
  8. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Huc accedat Matrona'
  9. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Quocum Patriae me ducit amore'
  10. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Ne timeas non, laetare'
  11. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Vultus tui vago splendori'
  12. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Vide, humilis prostrata'
  13. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'O quam vaga, venusta, o quam decora'
  14. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Quem vides prope, aspectu'
  15. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Quamvis ferro, et ense gravis'
  16. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Quid cerno! Oculi mei'
  17. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Quanto magis generosa'

Disc: 2

  1. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Sede, o cara'
  2. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Tu Judex es, tu Dominus, tu potens'
  3. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Agitata infido flatu'
  4. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'In tenorio supernae'
  5. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'O servi, volate'
  6. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Tu quoque hebraica ancilla'
  7. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Veni, me sequere fida'
  8. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Venio Juditha, venio animo fave'
  9. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'Fulgeat sol frontis decorae'
  10. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 1: 'In Urbe interim pia'
  11. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Summi Regis in mente'
  12. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'O Sydera, o stellae'
  13. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Jam servientis in hostem'
  14. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Nox in umbra dum surgit'
  15. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Nox oscura tenebrosa'
  16. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Belligerae, meae sorti'
  17. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Transit aetas'

Disc: 3

  1. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Haec in crastinum serva: Ah, nimis vere'
  2. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Noli o cara te adorantis'
  3. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Tibi dona salutis'
  4. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Plena nectare non mero'
  5. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Tormenta mentis tuae fugiant a corde'
  6. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Vivat in pace, et pax regnet sincera'
  7. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Sic in pace inter hostes'
  8. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Umbrae carae, aurae adoratae'
  9. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Quae fortunata es tu vaga Matrona'
  10. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Non ita reducem'
  11. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Jam pergo, postes claudo'
  12. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Summe Astrorum Creator'
  13. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Impii, indini Tiranni'
  14. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Abra accipe munus'
  15. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Si fulgida per te'
  16. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Jam non procul ab axe'
  17. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Armatae face, et anguibus'
  18. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Quam insolita luce'
  19. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Gaude felix'
  20. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Ita decreto aeterno'
  21. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Part 2: 'Salve invicta Juditha formosa'
  22. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: 'O servi, volate'


Product Details

  • Performer: Magdalena Kozena, Marina Comparato, Anke Herrmann, Maria José Trullu, Tiziana Carraro, et al.
  • Orchestra: Academia Montris Regalis, Coro di Accademia di Santa Cecilia
  • Conductor: Alessandro de Marchi
  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
  • Audio CD (October 9, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Naive
  • ASIN: B00004ZBLD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,243 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Ferrer on July 22, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Antonio Vivaldi, not only wrote wonderful concerti but also he wrote several vocal works, as master of the chorus of L'ospedale della Pieta for orphan girls. This oratorio is the only we have of the four he wrote. And it is a pleasure listening it.

Though the theme of Judith, the heroine who saved Betulia from Holofernes has been depicted in several compositions, like Betulia Liberata by Mozart. The vision Vivaldi has of the whole scene is more about the seduction of Holofernes than the religious aspects of the theme. A seduction that appears in all its glory in the aria "veni veni me sequere fide".

Although I was used to the version recorded by the King's Consort with Ann Murray I was impressed by Kozena. She has a great elegance singing and , after listening her carefully I think she is my new favourite. Her voice has personality but never shadows the rol she sings.

It is really a wonderful new recording and I recommend it for those who love classical music, and even to those who do not like Vivaldi.
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We tend to forget tha Vivaldi was also an opera and church music composer. This oratorio, the only survival piece of the four we know he composed, is a revelation.
The performance is flawless and Magdalena Koczena shows why she is one of the leading singers in the world, plus one interested in more thna the repetead repertorie. The orchestra in historical instruments adds to the quality.
The booklet of information is complete with very interesting description on how decisions were made for this recording.
Buy it without hesitation.
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Vivaldi might have composed this oratorio with the celestial and the majestic in mind.

Breaking with tradition, even the sinfonia is grandiose and pompous. Not surprisingly, it is borrowed from the first and second movements of concerto grosso con molti strumenti that portends something big is about to happen.

Noteworthy are performances by Magdalena Kozena, and Marina Comparato.

Juditha Triumphans treasures one of Vivaldi's most beautiful gems and presto arias di furie, Armatae Face Et Anguibus. Taking the task of singing this battle cry, Marina Comparato met and overcame the high standard previously set by Cecilia Bartoli. While Bartoli immersed her character in incontrollable rage and furious vengeance, Comparato turned a spin and sank hers in fear and despair at the death of Holofernes. Her melisma in singing the second vocal run of the aria conveys the vulnerability and anguish of Vagaus, the eunuch, at the death of his beloved master. Both voices and coloraturas are beautiful in conveying different psyches of the same character. What a difference an opera makes for Marina Comparato! Her brilliance was very visible in Il Giustino, but her virtuosity is established here.

Magdalena Kozena simply sparkles in her role of Juditha, and singing of the virtuoso arias "Veni, Veni, Me Sequere Fidu", and "Agitata Infidu Flatu".
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If you enjoy early opera you will love this. As it stands, it really is just like a Vivaldi opera (for me anyway)--i.e. there is no narrator as in many oratorios, and the arias and choruses all advance the drama. It has absolutely beautiful choruses, and these are a sort of revelation for fans of Vivaldi opera (because his operas don't really have any big complex choruses--if only opera seria conventions had allowed them!! There are a few here in Juditha Triumphans, but the long one that ends Act 1 is especially moving). The other difference from his operas is, of course, that it is in Latin, but the singers still sing very dramatically and act well through the text just as if they were singing Italian. Anyway, the quality of the music is on a par with Orlando Furioso, in my opinion.

By the way, I can't believe how horrible the album covers are for this complete Vivaldi series by the Naive label. They all feature models in very unimaginative examples of fashion photography that have, usually, absolutely nothing to do with the work. I honestly think these covers might put some people off of buying the records because they look like (bad) pop album covers. Ugh! There is a whole world of beautiful, public domain art out there to choose from, including many pieces of religious art that depict the very subject of this oratorio, so what's with the model with the rose in her teeth? Anyway, it is too bad, because the recordings in this series are very high quality.

By the way, I was not bothered by the acoustics on this recording. I found it rich and full and nice and not over-resonant as some say here (including the amazon reviewer). But that aspect of a recording is always so subjective, I find...
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