VIVALDI Concerti e Cantate da Camera
At last Laura Polverelli appears centrestage and it is something to celebrate. Whether Vivaldi wrote these cantatas for an exceptionally talented singer or just decided to give others a mischievously hard time is not known; the fact remains‚ they are tough assignments. If Polverelli finds them to be so‚ she gives no sign of it. She is a mezzo with a cloudless upper register and a fullthroated lower one‚ a wide and subtly nuanced range of volume‚ supple and pitchperfect. These three Chamber cantatas deal with various unhappy aspects of love and she projects them without resort to ‘grandoperatic’ excess. These are performances to treasure.
The chamber concertos show Vivaldi at his most happily inventive. All those on this disc have alternative versions and if RV97 and 105 lack something of the verve of those by Giardino Armonico they are nonetheless infectious. The bassoon player who can negotiate the frantic passagework in RV105‚ as the nimbletongued Aligi Voltan does here‚ need not fear any of Vivaldi’s 37 concertos for that instrument. In the same work‚ the pitch of Paolo Faldi’s recorder sounds a fraction lower than that to which his colleagues conform‚ but it’s not a hanging matter.
The recording is clear and very well balanced‚ the annotation is duly informative and the vocal texts are given in three languages‚ including English. Why Opus 111 has illustrated the cover with an irrelevant catwalk model is not easy to understand: Polverelli has no need of such marketing any more than Ofra Harnoy did some years ago. Neither does this recorded journey through some of Vivaldi’s lessplayed music‚ as I urge you to confirm.