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.

Vivaldi
· · ·
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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