The full ti­tle is Nul­la In Mun­do Pax Sin­cera, which will leave many blank. A bet­ter way to put it is “Em­ma Kirk­by singing Vi­val­di”, a com­bi­na­tion that will bring a smile to the faces of many who lis­ten to any clas­si­cal mu­sic at al­l.

· · ·
Emma Kirkby

An­to­nio and Em­ma both have good hair.

Ms Kirk­by is a so­pra­no who has made a ca­reer of Ear­ly Mu­sic; her voice is like sil­ver with a dust­ing of sug­ar. Vi­val­di is a dead Ital­ian who wrote an ab­surd­ly huge amount of mu­sic, of which al­most all is good and a lot is pret­ty great. He’s got a marked style: You don’t have to be a deep classical-music maven to hear mu­sic on the ra­dio and say “oh, that’s got­ta be Vivaldi.” He picked the wrong cen­tu­ry to be born in; he died in pover­ty, but The Four Sea­sons is the best-selling clas­si­cal record­ing of all time, so he’d be pret­ty com­fort­able if he were still alive.

I’ve heard peo­ple gripe about all of Vivaldi’s con­cer­tos sound­ing like all of his oth­er con­cer­tos, and they have a point, but they all sound pret­ty good; and hey, you can say the same thing about the Rolling Stones and John Coltrane.

Any­how, the rea­son I’m writ­ing this is be­cause I have this bril­liant al­bum called Vi­valdi: Can­tatas, Con­cert­sos, & Mag­ni­fi­cat (Ama­zon, iTunes), pure gold end to end. But it’s not on Spo­ti­fy, which a Song of the Day sort of needs to be. But I didn’t want to give up on the idea, so I found an­oth­er record­ing, Vi­valdi: Glo­ri­a; Sta­bat Mater which is first-rate Kirk­by/Vi­valdi, and has a bet­ter on­line pres­ence.

Nul­la In Mun­do Pax (RV 630) was writ­ten in 1735 and as a ti­tle is kind of a down­er, mean­ing some­thing like “No true peace in the world”. But it’s got a pay­load of Chris­tian hope and one of Vivaldi’s best melodies ev­er, which is a strong state­men­t. And Kirk­by is just the per­fect match for this sort of mu­sic, the riv­er of beau­ty pour­ing out of her with no ap­par­ent ef­fort or strain. It’s on­ly about thir­teen min­utes long, the first move­ment less than sev­en.

This is the 114th in the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. This tune on iTunes, Spo­ti­fy, Ama­zon. Here’s live video of Kirk­by with Hog­wood and the Acade­my of An­cient Mu­sic at the Proms in 1998.

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April 24, 2018
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