Vivaldi's chamber cantatas for solo voice, some forty in total, are steadily gaining in popularity: but because of their relatively small place in the oeuvre of a composer famed for his productivity, and also on account of the general scholarly neglect of their genre, they are little discussed in the literature. This book comprehensively explores their literary and musical background, their relation to the composer's biography, the chronology of their composition, and their musical qualities. Each cantata is discussed individually, but there is also a broader consideration of aspects concerning them collectively, such as performance practice, topical allusion, and the conventions of Italian verse. The author argues that while Vivalid's cantatas are not as innovative as his concertos and operas, he produced several masterpieces in the genre that rank with his best music.
MICHAEL TALBOT is Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Liverpool.
One of the joys of reading this book is that the author's love for the music, alongside his willingness to call a spade a spade, comes through again and again...there is something wonderfully attractive about Talbot's engagement with the music. MUSIC & LETTERS
There are welcome insights into...how and why [the cantatas] were written, and by whom and for whom they were performed...a work-by-work description of each cantata provides reference material for most of us...Talbot writes with clarity and judgement, and a total lack of jargon...highly recommended. MUSICAL TIMES
It is refreshing and stimulating to read a book whose author believes that his job is to establish facts and to impart understanding from which the reader may learn...Moreover it is heartening that he is so keen to encourage performance...this [is a] fine study. EARLY MUSIC [Andrew V Jones]
As one has come to expect from Michael Talbot, this is a brilliant book...With all the facts apparently at his fingertips and all the music in his head, he succeeds in placing where Vivaldi stood in the development of the form...this book should be presented to postgraduate students as a model of how to write about music. - EARLY MUSIC REVIEW [Clifford Bartlett]
This beautifully-written book can be recommended to people with a general interest in the baroque as well as specialists. THE CONSORT [Robert Manning]
A standard work that deserves a hallowed place, not only on library shelves, but also in the collection of Vivaldi enthusiasts. TOCCATA