“The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.” - Václav Havel
For Music Saturday, a piece of music by Antonio Vivaldi, the motet “Longe Mala Umbrae Terrores” in G minor, RV629. The motet speaks of the terrors of the world and asks for the Lord to appear with his glory in order to save believers in Him. It is a wonderful showpiece for a soprano, with great varieties in mood and character of the music, to reflect the lyrics. This recording is with Teresa Berganza and the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Antonio Ros-Marbá.
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (4 March 1678 - 28 July 1741), nicknamed il Prete Rosso (“The Red Priest”) because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, Catholic priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Recognised as one of the greatest Baroque composers, his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe. Vivaldi is known mainly for composing instrumental concertos, especially for the violin, as well as sacred choral works and over forty operas. His best-known work is a series of violin concertos known as “The Four Seasons”.
Many of his compositions were written for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi had been employed from 1703 to 1715 and from 1723 to 1740. Vivaldi also had some success with stagings of his operas in Venice, Mantua and Vienna. After meeting the Emperor Charles VI, Vivaldi moved to Vienna, hoping for preferment. The Emperor died soon after Vivaldi's arrival.
Though Vivaldi's music was well received during his lifetime, it later declined in popularity until its vigorous revival in the first half of the 20th century. Today, Vivaldi ranks among the most popular and widely recorded of Baroque composers.
The illustration above is Samuel Colman's “The Rock of Salvation”