I’m reviewing “In furore” a wonderful Baroque motet by Vivaldi for coloratura soprano, strings, and continuo. The piece is a true test of virtuosity for the voice: The many cadenzas and long passages require agility and breath support. I first overheard this piece while Linden was studying for a Vocal Literature test. “In furore” is part of the standard Baroque repertoire. I am looking at the first movement, the Allegro, in particular as it is the most famous – “In furore iustissimae irae.” This recording is sung by Magda Kalmar.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find too much about the text to the motet. I only know that the motet evokes emotions of fear of God’s wrath, despair, and torment, as well as pleading for God’s mercy. A latin dictionary revealed that “furore” means fury, while “iustissimae irae” brings up the terms “justice” and “wrath.” The orchestral part certainly conveys a sense of turmoil and grandeur. There are a lot of monophonic moments where the strings and soprano are in unison – it creates a powerful atmosphere.
The aria is written in Da Capo form. There is a lengthy string introduction that sets the tone – a friend told me that it would sound great on electric guitar! The soprano enters on a very florid passage – in the A section she hardly sings one note per syllable. On closer examination, the aria appears to be in composite ternary! The A section clearly has a simple binary form – there are smaller A and B sections, the B section being a development of the opening parallel period.
The mood suddenly shifts to a more somber tone when we come to the B section. The passages are less florid, and the volume much more pianissimo. This B section is very short. We soon return to the turbulence of the A section, exactly as it was the first time.