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Berkeley Festival Finale: Vivaldi Magnificat (AUDIO)

The 2010 Berkeley Festival & Exhibition concluded with a concert on June 13 that celebrated the extraordinary repertoire of music composed by Venetian composers for the elaboration of the office of Vespers during the century following Monteverdi’s monumental Vespro della Beata Vergine in 1610. Each of the ensembles that had been featured in main stage events at the Festival contributed to the final concert with all joining forces for the performance of Vivaldi’s Magnificat captured the recording available for streaming at the link below.

Soloists for the Vivaldi were sopranos Laura Heimes, Jennifer Ellis Kampani and Rita Lilly; mezzo-sopranos Barbara Hollinshead and Meg Bragle; and tenor Christopher LeCluyse. The ensembles Archetti, ARTEK, AVE, Magnificat, the Marion Verbruggen Trio, Music’s Recreation and ¡Sacabuche! performed under the direction of Magnificat Artistic Director Warren Stewart. (See full list of performers below.)

The towering figure of the Italian High Baroque, Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice in 1678. He studied violin with his father and may have had his first composition lessons with Legrenzi, whose style is reflected in his early vocal works. He would become the most famous and imitated Italian musician of the 18th Century and remains one of the most beloved and often-performed composers of the Baroque Era. Astonishingly prolific, Vivaldi composed in every genre current in the first half of the new century and, while his hundreds sonatas and concerti were the influential on the development of the compositional style of the high Baroque and contributed most heavily to his enduring reputation, he also wrote over 50 operas and a significant body of sacred works.

Vivaldi traveled widely and held a variety of positions in courts, churches and other establishments, notably the Ospedale della Pietà, one of four Venetian institutions devoted to the care of orphaned girls, where he was employed for over 30 years. The musical training at the Ospedale was such that Vespers and Mass became a focal point of Venetian culture and regularly attracted local nobility and foreign dignitaries. While his primary responsibility at the Ospedale was the provision of instrumental music like the L’Estro Armonico (“Harmonic Inspiration”) of 1711, during periods when the position of choirmaster was vacant he was frequently called upon to provide music for Mass and Vespers and it is most likely that this was the genesis of the of the Magnificat from 1715.

Vivaldi’s Magnificat exists in four distinct versions and its wide circulation throughout Europe suggests that it was Vivaldi’s best-known sacred composition during his lifetime. He returned to the Magnificat in the late 1720s, making relatively small changes possibly for the patronal feast of the Venetian convent of San Lorenzo. More extensive revisions were made for a performance in 1739, again for the Ospedale, with Vivaldi providing alternate settings for some movements. Our performance will be based on the original 1715 version, but will include one of the 1739 additions, the alto setting of Sicut locutus est.

Rita Lilly, soprano (Et exultavit)
Barbara Hollinshead, mezzo-soprano (Quia respexit)
Christopher LeCluyse, tenor (Quia fecit mihi magna)
Jennifer Ellis Kampani, soprano (Esurientes)
Laura Heimes, soprano (Esurientes)
Meg Bragle, mezzo-soprano (Sicut locutus est)

Tonia D’Amelio, soprano
Shauna Fallihee, soprano
Laura Heimes, soprano
Carol Ann Kessler, soprano
Lindsey Lang, soprano
Rita Lilly, soprano
Naomi Lopin, soprano
Jennifer Ellis Kampani, soprano
Marion Verbruggen, soprano (!)
Meg Bragle, alto
Barbara Hollinshead, alto
Pam Igelsrud, alto
Dominic Lim, alto
Clifton Massey, alto
Andrew Rader, alto
Heidi Waterman, alto
Celeste Winant, alto
Philip Anderson, tenor
Michael Brown, tenor
Daniel Hutchings, tenor
David Kurtenbach, tenor
Christopher LeCluyse, tenor
Neal Rogers, tenor
Wolodymyr Smishkewych , tenor
Jedediah Allen, bass
Peter Becker, bass
Ed Betts, bass
Joshua Henderson, bass
David Varnum, bass

Carla Moore, concertmaster
James Andrewes, violin
Janelle Davis, violin
Cynthia Freivogel, violin
Robert Mealy, violin
Alicia Yang, violin
Anthony Martin, viola
Margriet Tindemans, viola
David Wilson, viola
Tanya Tomkins, violoncello
John Dornenburg, violone
Sarah Barbash-Riley, trombone
Michael DeWitt, trombone
Ray Horton, trombone
Linda Pearse, trombone
Daniel Swenberg, theorbo
Charles Weaver, guitar
Grant Herreid, lute
Christa Patton, harp
Jillon Stoppels Dupree, harpsichord
Lorna Peters, harpsichord
Gwendolyn Toth, harpsichord
Jonathan Dimmock, organ
Katherine Heater, organ
Yonit Kosovske. organ

Warren Stewart, conductor

  1. Carla Moore
    September 15th, 2010 at 18:54 | #1

    Thanks, Warren. It is fun to relive this event! Sounds wonderful! Kudos to Boby!

  1. November 10th, 2010 at 15:42 | #1