Vivaldi: The Great Venetian Mass
Casual browsers happening on this release by the venerable early music ensemble Les Arts Florissants and director Paul Agnew may wonder why they have never heard of Vivaldi’s Great Venetian Mass, and some of those will note that an RV (Ryom-Verzeichnis) catalog number is not present anywhere. It is because there is no Great Venetian Mass; what is recorded here is a creation by Agnew, assembled from other works. Some of these were mass sections, while others were contrafacta (“retextings”). Agnew’s premise is that Vivaldi would often have been called upon to provide full settings of the Catholic mass, but none have survived. Therefore, he might have cobbled them together as needed from music he had already written.