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Vivaldi: Four Seasons, Concerti, Sonatas / I Solisti Di Milano


Release Date: 03/27/2012 
Label:  Newton Classics   Catalog #: 8802109  
Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Mario FerrarisMariella SorelliErmanno MolinaroAntonio Pocaterra,   ... 
Conductor:  Angelo Ephrikian
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti di Milano
Number of Discs: 9 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Containing over 50 concertos and sonatas which effectively trace the first 3 quarters of Vivaldi’s career, this fantastic 9CD box set presents a fitting tribute to one of the most celebrated Baroque composers of the instrumental style.

The collection begins with the Trio Sonatas of Op.1, closely modelled on two sets of chamber (i.e. dance) sonatas by Corelli. Although this former tutor’s voice is discernible, it is Vivaldi’s which is the more distinct, and as we continue onto works such as La Stravaganza – a name which refers to the ‘extravagant’ structural and expressive details scattered throughout the set – and the beautifully crafted violin sonatas of Op.5, a more individual style comes to the fore.

Out of
Read more all the works on the recording, however, it is the Four Seasons – an early example of programme music, and Vivaldi’s most famous creation – that demands the highest level of virtuosity from the soloist. Sensitively performed here by the players of I Solisti di Milano, it leads to the affective cello sonatas of Op.12 which conclude the compilation. Rich in strong gestures and memorable phrases, this 9CD collection will provide hours of pleasurable listening and is a must-buy for the Baroque connoisseur.

Features the legendary French cellist Paul Tortelier

New booklet note by Vivaldi scholar Michael Talbot

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VIVALDI 6 Trio Sonatas, op. 1. 12 Violin Concertos, op. 4, “La stravaganza.” 6 Violin Sonatas, op. 5. Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione , op. 8: “The Four Seasons.” 6 Violin Concertos, op. 12. 6 Cello Sonatas Angelo Ephrikian, cond; I Solisti di Milano NEWTON 8802109 (9 CDs: 420:30)


These recordings date back to an era when the term “HIP” meant you were cool and “with it, man.” The mid 1960s to the early 1970s was a time during which a number of modern-instrument string ensembles, mostly Italian, flourished. I Solisti Milano heard here was among them, along with I Musici, I Solisti Veneti, and I Solisti Italiani. It may be hard to believe, but Vivaldi was not nearly the well-known and popular composer he is today until these groups began to document his works on records and perform the music in public. Some of the musicians who played in these ensembles were famous in their own right. Violinist and leader Angelo Ephrikian, cellist Paul Tortelier, and harpsichordist Robert Veyron-Lacroix, for example, are contributors to this collection.


The Newton box indicates that the licensing source for this material is Arcophon-Rivoalto, the Italian record label founded by tire-industry tycoon Giovanni Battista Pirelli. The company ceased operations in 1973 when Pirelli died, and its approximately 50 recordings were acquired by Rivo Alto in 1989. I recall a Musical Heritage Society LP I once had of a number of concertos by Benedetto Marcello with Ephrikian leading I Solisti di Milano, and I believe that some of Ephrikian’s recordings found their way onto the Bach Guild label.


Given that this nine-CD set is selling at ArkivMusic for $48.99 (just over $5 per disc), one shouldn’t complain, but it does seem a shame that only the first four concertos—“The Four Seasons”—of the complete Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione were included. It’s possible, I suppose, that Ephrikian and I Solisti di Milano never recorded all 12 of the concertos that make up the collection. What we do have here is the complete “La stravaganza,” the complete trio sonatas of op. 1, the complete sets of op. 5 sonatas and op. 6 concertos, and, as performed by Tortelier and Veyron-Lacroix, the complete set of cello sonatas published without opus number, but sometimes erroneously identified as op. 14.


Anyone who grew up with recordings of Vivaldi and other Baroque composers by one or another of the Italian string ensembles named above will know what to expect from these performances. Articulation is smooth, with no roughness of bowing or amputated phrasing; tone production is full and plush, and tempos are never too fast or too slow. With an entire generation of period-instrument practice behind us, I don’t know if one would call this approach historically informed, but it’s never anything but tasteful and elegant, something I think that never goes out of style.


This is a fantastic bargain and definitely recommended to those who simply can’t overdose on Vivaldi, no matter how large the dose is.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

1.
Trio Sonatas (12) for 2 Violins and Basso Continuo, Op. 1 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Mario Ferraris (Violin), Mariella Sorelli (Harpsichord), Ermanno Molinaro (Violin),
Antonio Pocaterra (Cello)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1705; Venice, Italy 
2.
Concertos (12) for Violin, Op. 4 "La Stravaganza" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Franco Fantini (Violin), Tino Bacchetta (Violin)
Conductor:  Angelo Ephrikian
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti di Milano
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714; Venice, Italy 
3.
Sonatas (6) for Violin and Basso Continuo, Op. 5 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Franco Fantini (Violin), Vera Luccini (Harpsichord), Mario Ferraris (Violin),
Genunzio Ghetti (Cello), Antonio Pocaterra (Cello), Maria Isabella De Carli (Harpsichord),
Angelo Ephrikian (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1716; Venice, Italy 
4.
Concertos (6) for Violin, Op. 6 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Antonio Pocaterra (Cello), Franco Fantini (Violin), Mario Ferraris (Violin),
Maria Isabella De Carli (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Angelo Ephrikian
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti di Milano
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1716-1717; Venice, Italy 
5.
Concertos (4) for Violin, Op. 8 no 1-4 "Four seasons" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Franco Fantini (Violin)
Conductor:  Angelo Ephrikian
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti di Milano
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
6.
Concerto for Violin in E major, Op. 8 no 1/RV 269 "Primavera" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Franco Fantini (Violin)
Conductor:  Angelo Ephrikian
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti di Milano
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1725; Venice, Italy 
7.
Concerto for Violin in G minor, Op. 8 no 2/RV 315 "L'estate" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Franco Fantini (Violin)
Conductor:  Angelo Ephrikian
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti di Milano
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
8.
Concerto for Violin in F major, Op. 8 no 3/RV 293 "L'autunno" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Franco Fantini (Violin)
Conductor:  Angelo Ephrikian
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti di Milano
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
9.
Concerto for Violin in F minor, Op. 8 no 4/RV 297 "L'inverno" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Franco Fantini (Violin)
Conductor:  Angelo Ephrikian
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti di Milano
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
10.
Concertos (6) for Violin, Op. 12 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Franco Fantini (Violin)
Conductor:  Angelo Ephrikian
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti di Milano
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1729; Venice, Italy 
11.
Sonatas (6) for Cello and Basso Continuo, Op. 14 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Paul Tortelier (Cello), Robert Veyron-Lacroix (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1740; Venice, Italy 

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