Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Longe mala, umbrae, terrores RV629

Laura Polverelli 180x180 captionedThis is another of Vivaldi’s motets that is suitable ‘per ogni tempo‘ – it’s not specific to any Saint’s Day or Feast of the Church. Based on the way in which its notated it seems likely that Vivaldi composed it for Cardinal Ottoboni rather than the Pietà.  It’s a very difficult piece to sing requiring a singer with perfect control and the ability to master a taxing setting. The tempestuous opening aria depicts in some detail the afflictions of life while the recitative that follows bids them disappear in order to make way for the consoling sweetness and light of divine grace which irradiates the second aria. Unfortunately for our peace of mind – but fortunately for the motet’s musical structure divine grace doesn’t quite have the staying power one would hope for it and the concluding ‘Alleluia’ returns to the somewhat truculent musical tone of the opening verse. Enjoy :-).


Text & Translation: Longe mala, umbrae, terrores RV629

LatinEnglish Translation

Movement 1: Longe mala, umbrae, terrores

Longe mala, umbrae, terrores,
sors amara, iniqua sors.

Away with woes, shadows, terrors,
bitter fate, unfair fate.

Bella, plagae, irae, furores,
tela et arma, aeterna mors.

Wars, plagues, anger, rages,
weapons and armour, eternal death.

Movement 2: Recedite, nubes et fulgura

Recedite, nubes et fulgura,
et sereno coronata fulgore
coeli, sidera, coruscate,
omnes animae super
terram et super astra
viventes, iubilate.

Clouds and lightning be gone,
and crowned with the tranquil brightness
of heaven, let the stars twinkle,
let every soul from
the earth to the stars
rejoice and be alive.

Movement 3: Descende, o caeli vox

Descende, o coeli vox,
ex alto asperge nos,
tolle maerorem.

Come down, voice of heaven,
and wash us from on high,
take away misery.

Resplende, o vera lux,
es tu secura dux,
sparge fulgorem.

Shine out, true light,
you are a fearless leader,
spread your light.

Movement 4: Alleluia


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