The title of the two-disc album, Vivaldi: Vespro a San Marco, implies that the composer wrote a set of pieces comparable to Monteverdi's Vespro della beata Vergine, but the title needs to be interpreted somewhat loosely. The program notes describe the collection of psalms, canticles, motets, and prefatory chants recorded here as an evocation of a service of vespers Vivaldi might have assembled rather than a reconstruction of one he actually ever did. These vespers are distinctly Vivaldian in idiom, but they resemble Monteverdi's in the use of some common texts and in the diversity of musical styles, genres, and performing forces assembled; there is not much of a sense of unity in the traditional sense, but a profusion of delightfully varied musical vignettes, including a cappella chants, solos, ensembles, choruses, and instrumental pieces.
Dreaming Out Loud finds Michael Chapman in fine form, turning a record that isn't drastically dissimilar from his early work. While it doesn't have the spark of his early albums for Harvest, it has a professional journeyman quality that is appealing in its own way. Chapman plays most of the instruments on the album himself, which can occasionally give the music a stilted feel, but on the whole, it's an ambitious, successful effort that fits nicely into his body of work.