Vivaldi’s Kyrie in G minor

Vivaldi’s Kyrie in G minor is written for double choir and orchestra, a favourite layout for Venetian composers since the 16th century.  The geography of St. Mark’s Cathedral allowed the placing of groups of musicians around the building to create the excitement of a new ‘music in the round’ – Venice became famous for this.  The Ospedale chapel is quite small which means the Kyrie could not have been performed there – the space has insufficient breadth to accommodate two orchestras and two choirs.  There is a canal next to the Ospedale which leads to the nearby church of San Lorenzo, a Benedictine monastery church with a spacious rectangular nave.  It is believed Vivaldi wrote this and his other polychoral works for the Benedictines.  Sadly their church was severely damaged during the Napoleonic Wars, and was only recently reopened – as an exhibition space.