Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Credo in E minor, RV591

Vivaldi 150x160 captionedVivaldi’s Credo in E minor, RV591, is a companion piece to his Gloria RV588 (the less well known his two settings of the Gloria). It’s his only sacred composition without solo voices to be in more than one movement and is a fairly early work dating from his ‘first’ period at the Pietà.

I like it both for itself and for the ingenuity with which Vivaldi overcomes the perennial difficulty of writing music for an exceptionally long piece of text in such a way as not to produce a lopsided Mass. Vivaldi’s solution in the first movement is to write two entirely separate pieces for the choir (who sing block chords) and strings (who play figurations repeatedly) which he then superimposes one on the other. The ‘Et incarnatus est‘ doesn’t require such ingenuity it’s an entirely traditional piece of music that expresses the Incarnation’s mystery with slowly moving chords although even here Vivaldi’s creativity can be heard in the surprising way he handles the harmonic progressions. The Crucifixus is the shimmering jewel at the heart of the work and a further example of Vivaldi’s creativity and faith. In it he paints a musical image of the slow walk to Calvary and uses each voice to comment on it. He ends the piece with a movement that’s structurally similar to the opening. Enjoy :-)


Text & Translation: Credo

Latin English
Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem,
factorem caeli et terrae,
I believe in one God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
visibilium omnium, et invisibilium.
Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum,
Filium Dei unigenitum,
et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula,
Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine,
Deum verum de Deo vero,
of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages,
God of God, light of light,
true God of true God,
genitum, non factum, consubstantialem Patri,
per quem omnia facta sunt.
begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father,  by whom all things were made.
Qui propter nos homines, et propter nostram
salutem descendit de coelis.
Who for us men, and for our salvation,
came down from heaven.
Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto
ex Maria virgine, et homo factus est.
And was incarnate by the Holy Spirit
through the virgin Mary, and was made man.
Crucifixus etiam pro nobis:
sub Pontio Pilato passus, et sepultus est.
He was crucified also for us:
under Pontius Pilate he suffered death and was buried.
Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum
scripturas. Et ascendit in caelum:
sedet ad dexteram Patris. 
And the third day he rose again according
to the scriptures. And ascended into heaven:
he sitteth at the right hand of the Father.
Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, iudicare vivos et mortuos: cuius regni non erit finis.And he shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead: of whose kingdom there shall be no end.
Et in Spiritum Sanctum Dominum,
et vivificantem: qui ex Patre Filioque procedit,
And in the Holy Spirit, Lord and
giver of life: who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,
qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur
et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas.
Et unam sanctam catholicam
et apostolicam ecclesiam. Confiteor unum
baptisma in remissionem peccatorum.
Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum,
et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen
who with the Father and the Son is adored
and glorified; who spoke through the prophets.
And in one, holy, Catholic
and apostolic church. I confess one
baptism for the remission of sins.
And I await the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Score available from here:

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