Conclusion: At Carnegie, go beyond the Rapid-Fire Vivaldi

Slow, serene, more buoyant than furious: a Vivaldi concert at Weill Recital Hall on Thursday began in decidedly un-Vivaldian style. Or ...


Slow, serene, more buoyant than furious: a Vivaldi concert at Weill Recital Hall on Thursday began in decidedly un-Vivaldian style.

Or at least the “molto allegro” style with which this composer is often associated. Of course, he created much more than good humor and quick coloratura, and a wide range of his art was on display Thursday, when the young early music ensemble Jupiter debuted in style in the intimate Weill space at Carnegie Hall.

Founded in 2018 by lutenist Thomas Dunford, Jupiter is based in France but encompasses a changing confederation of artists from all over. In Weill the group was an octet, with Dunford joined by Rachell Ellen Wong and Augusta McKay Lodge, violins; Manami Mizumoto, viola; Bruno Philippe, cello; Douglas Balliett, bass; and Tom Foster, harpsichord and organ.

And, last but not least, mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre, a rising opera star still in her twenties. His soft clarinet voice provided the backbone of the evening in eight arias, divided into four sets of two, with three instrumental interludes.

Pairs of arias are often contrasting. Thus, this overture, “Vedrò con mio diletto” from “Giustino”, sung with melting sweetness, was followed without pause by the fiery “face of Armatae” from “Juditha Triumphans”, its text fiercely articulated by Desandre, with dives into his chest register. .

It’s a testament to the calm she and the ensemble cast that none of her air couplings were interrupted by applause. The peaceful “Cum dederit” of “Nisi Dominus” was followed by the “Veni, veni, me sequere fida” of “Juditha”; the lugubrious “Gelido in ogni vena” from “Farnace”, by the passionate “Gelosia” from “Ottone in Villa”.

Even Desandre’s fast runs emerged with a smooth legato flow, as opposed to the machine-gun vibe that some vocalists bring to this music. She didn’t “play” the arias brightly, but subtle changes to her face and attitude conveyed a sense of character.

The lute is not a loud instrument, but Dunford makes it speak, even in the middle of an ensemble, with precision and without exaggeration. In two major-key, three-movement pieces that centered on him – a trio sonata in C and a concerto in D – he weaved a subtle but clear and golden sonic filament into the outer movements; and, in the slow middle sections, was tenderly melancholic.

But the most memorable of the program’s three instrumental pieces — a cello concerto in G minor — featured Philippe, gently aching in a duet passage with Dunford and fierce, without losing airy sweetness, in a very Vivaldian Allegro finale. Thanks to the sensitive trio of high strings, the superb evocations of birds by this composer imposed themselves throughout the evening.

The concert is inspired by Jupiter excellent, first recording of 2019 of works by Vivaldi, with a pinch of “Amazon”, the even more interesting continuation of the set, with Desandre. Released last year, it delves into French and Italian baroque representations of mythical Amazons.

It speaks to these artists’ confidence in presenting rare material that an insert in Thursday’s program announced they would not end with ‘Agitata da due venti’ from ‘Griselda’ – this close to a hit. current that the Vivaldian opera gets – but rather with the short, furious and twisting language “Scenderò, volantò, griderò” of “Ercole su’l Termodonte”. It was love at first sight after the pastoral “Onde chiare che susurrate”, from the same opera, which preceded it.

Some of the younger generation of early music scholars have dabbled in contemporary covers – perhaps to give the impression that they are not entirely trapped in the distant past, perhaps to avoid being pigeonholed, perhaps -be out of sheer curiosity. Hence Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” a favorite callback to Christina Pluhar’s L’Arpeggiata group.

Jupiter does this practice better, recording and performing some of his own pieces, and his callback to Weill was the laid-back song “We Are the Ocean”, written by Balliett and Dunford. With brief solos played as Dunford introduced the musicians, the mood turned more into a jazz club than a recital hall – with a relaxed charm that, after an evening of virtuosity, was fully deserved. .


Jupiter

Performed Thursday at Weill Recital Hall, Manhattan.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Conclusion: At Carnegie, go beyond the Rapid-Fire Vivaldi
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