Vivaldi’s Domine Deus, Agnus Dei

The Church of the Servant choir is singing movements of Vivaldi’s Gloria throughout the year. Recently we sang “Dominus Deus, Agnus Dei” (“Lord God, Lamb of God…that takes away the sins of the world have mercy upon us”) during the confession.

Many of these movements can be found in public domain editions, but others have incomplete resources. Such was the case with this movement. There were plenty of choral scores, but no realization of the figured bass that was light enough to leave room for the cello. (You’ll remember that in a lot of Baroque music the continuo was a bass line with chord symbols called figured bass. The Baroque keyboardist was expected to improvise chords above the bass line. Today, few players have this skill.)

You would think that filling in chords above a bass line would be a simple task tapping into skills learned in freshman theory, but it’s actually surprisingly hard to get into the stylistic mindset of another composer and flesh out their music in a convincing way. You can assess my success here: PDF. Of course, compositional success can only be achieved when implemented by actual musicians. In this case, I had the best: Erin De Young sang the solo and Andrew Plaisier played cello. I’m blessed to be at a church with people like this!

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