Notes & Reviews:
This definitive version uses an all-female cast (as it was written for the Pieta, the famous all-girls' orphanage where Vivaldi was Music Director) along with period instruments. Because the work almost certainly opened with an overture (now lost), Robert King has chosen to preface this recording of Juditha Triumphans with the first two movements of Vivaldi's Concerto RV 555.
"This is Vivaldi's only surviving oratorio and is a truly astonishing work... Maria Cristina Kiehr and Susan Bickley are both outstanding, while the nineteen-voice choir is alertly involved in the action - altogether a magnificent achievement." -1001 Classical Recordings
'Lyricism in abundance and some truly extraordinary scoring. Robert King's direction revels in such novelties and he has a skillful team of players to realise the ravishing beauties of the score' (The Times)
'A stunning cast, orchestra and choir' (BBC Music magazine)
'Hugely enjoyable... excellent soloistsmasterly recording' (Classic CD)
'Although it comes as Vol IV of King's projected complete recording of Vivaldi's sacred music, this allegorical oratorio - Judith's murder of Holofernes representing Venice's triumph over the Ottoman hordes - seems to belong to the opera house rather than the church. Vivaldi wrote it in 1716 for the youthful female virtuosi of the Ospedal della Pieta: the vocal writing requires both astonishing agility and rare intensity; and he asks for an extravagant instrumentarium, including clarinets, a chalumeau, mandolin and violas 'all' inglese'. The choruses that open and close the oratorio and punctuate the sequence of glorious arias have a thrilling martial éclat. The soloists are wonderful: Ann Murray's Judith, beguiling and brilliant, marks her return to form, and her bright mezzo contrasts well with the velvet alto of Susan Bickley as Holofernes. Maria Cristina Kiehr - in the only soprano role, Vagaus - gets the lion's share of the bravura numbers and sings them superlatively well. Another revelatory issue from Hyperion' (The Sunday Times)
'Magnificent. Unquestionably a masterpiece that bridles with invention from start to finish. A feat of supreme singing and intensely dramatic projection. Superlative recorded sound that in its combination of warmth, depth and immediacy, conveys the supeme quality of the performance with devastating Impact. This is not only the finest recording I've encountered this year, but one of the great recordings of the decade. There is no justice if it does not pick up awards galore' (Fanfare, USA)
'A wonderful piece of dramatic music that receives superb treatment at the hands of The King's Consort and soloists. An absolutely vital release and one of the best recordings I've heard this year' (American Record Guide)
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Works DetailsVivaldi, Antonio : Juditha triumphans, RV 645
- Performers: Susan Bickley (Mezzo Soprano); Sarah Connolly; Maria Kiehr; Ann Murray (Mezzo Soprano); Jean Rigby
- Conductor: Robert King
- Ensemble: King's Consort Choir
- Notes: 10/08/1997-10/14/1997
- Running Time: 3 min. 51 sec.
- Period Time: Baroque
- Form: Cantata/Oratorio
- Written: 1716