Antonio Vivaldi [1678-1741]
In furore iutissimae irae RV.626 [early 1720s]
1. Allegro - In furore iustissimae irae
3. Largo – Tunc meus fletus
4. Allegro - Alleluia
Despite In furore iustissimae irae being a sacred work, Vivaldi manages to conjure up all the emotions and drama associated with the operatic stage, not least because of the da capo arias and recitatives. Written during one of Vivaldi’s sojourns to Rome during the carnival seasons of the early 1720’s, In furore is one of three surviving motets from this period, written with the intention of being an introductory preface to larger-scale settings of liturgical texts. The work is bolder and more outgoing than those from the decade before, and Vivaldi’s manner of expression bears all the unmistakable traits of the individualism that would dominate all his sacred vocal music of this period and beyond. The text tells of the dangers of sin, and speaks directly to God and Jesus. The result of setting music to a poetic text meant that the work was not restricted to any particular time of year, and thus could be fitted in to the majority of church festivals, giving the musicians the chance to repeat the work many times.
The opening C minor da capo aria engulfs the listener at once in its fury and wrath with just a little respite in the contrasting middle section. The brief recitative which follows is a plea for mercy, setting the atmosphere for the next movement. Simple and beautiful in nature, the second aria displays a positive yet heart-wrenching acceptance of sorrow, the tortured sighing voice portrayed in unison with the violin, accompanied only by the upper strings with sparse use of the continuo. The poignant mood is broken by the final Alleluia, an exuberant and virtuosic conclusion to the motet.