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Vivaldi: La Stravaganza / Huggett, Hogwood, AAM


Release Date: 10/15/2008 
Label:  L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog #: 417502   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Monica Huggett
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 41 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

La stravaganza was Vivaldi's second published set of concertos. It appeared in about 1713, shortly after his successful L'estro armonico of 1711. The edition was published by Estienne Roger in Amsterdam and brought out in two books as the composer's Op. 4. The 12 concertos of La stravaganza are all scored for solo violin and strings. In general, greater emphasis is placed on the 'solo' element than in the earlier set where 'concertino' writing plays a more extensive role. Bach transcribed for solo harpsichord movements from the First and Sixth Concertos though he would have seen this music in an earlier, somewhat different manuscript form. In the case of Concerto No. I in B flat only the first movement appears in Bach's G major solo Read more keyboard version (BWV980); and where Concerto No. 6 in G minor is concerned Bach closely follows the opening movement, greatly modifies the second and follows an entirely different finale; the key, however, remains the same (BWV975). If the substance of the concertos themselves seem at first sight less varied than that of L'estro armonico the same certainly cannot be said of the solo violin writing which is richly endowed with passages of beguiling fantasy. Indeed, it seems to me that some of Vivaldi's utterances in this set exceed anything in his Op. 3 in respect of poesy and tenderness; an outstanding example of his lyrical gift occurs in the Largo of Concerto No. 12 in G major. Here a heart-rending melody is treated to a series of variations over an ostinato bass in a most inventive manner; the effect is magical and the piece must surely rank amongst Vivaldi's loveliest creations. The Grave e sempre piano of Concerto No. 4 in A minor, with its sighing suspensions, its ethereal solo violin line, and characteristic chromaticisms, is hardly less inspired, evoking an air almost of fairy-tale enchantment. There's a surprise at almost every leading note in this tender movement.

Fast movements are treated to a rich variety of patterns. Some of them, such as the opening Allegro of Concerto No. 2 in E minor, recall ideas in Vivaldi's earlier Op. 3 set; but others, such as the finale of the Twelfth Concerto, and the opening movements of Concerto No. 8 in D minor begin with a lively violin solo rather than the usual tuttiritornello, and are boldy distinctive. All but one of the concertos fall into Vivaldi's customary 'fastslow-fast' movement pattern; the odd man out is the somewhat Corellian Concerto No. 7 in C major, which follows the sonata da chiesa pattern with an interesting Largo opening movement. The set as a whole is rich both in experimental gestures and musical fantasy, qualities that are emphasized in these captivating performances.

The soloist in each of the 12 concertos is Monica Huggett, for whose playing I am filled with admiration. Her warm tone, her well-nigh impeccable intonation, her sensitive shading of dynamics and her communicative articulation bring us to the heart of this music in a seemingly effortless fashion. Her virtuosity enables her to be convincing in all shades of musical affect—fiery where necessary, as in the spirited outer movements of Concerto No. I in B flat, but also lyrically, even, on occasion, poignantly expressive, too. The small group of string players which, on this occasion, comprise the Academy of Ancient Music, set up a responsive partnership with the solo violin. Very occasionally, I'd have preferred lighter tuttis in slow movements—the beautiful Largo of the Twelfth Concerto, which I've already mentioned, struck me as being a shade too assertive; but that is not at all to say that the performance lacks either finesse or sensibility. Everyone concerned sounds inspired by the music and this makes for notably rewarding performances. Christopher Hogwood has realized his continuos imaginatively and, as in his recording of Vivaldi's Op. 8 (L'Oiseau-Lyre D279D2, 9/83; 0 417 51520H2, 3/87), plays harpsichord or organ according to what he considers to be the individual sound requirements of each concerto; and the presence of a theorbo, as I have remarked before, is invariably effective.

To sum up, a splendid achievement all round. Wonderful solo violin playing, lively orchestral support, sensitive direction and a fine recorded sound. Strongly recommended.

-- Gramophone [3/1987]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin in B flat major, Op. 4 no 1/RV 383a by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1714; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1986 
Venue:  St Barnabas' Church, Finchley, London 
Length: 7 Minutes 49 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Violin in G major, Op. 4 no 3/RV 301 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1714; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1986 
Venue:  St Barnabas' Church, Finchley, London 
Length: 8 Minutes 24 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for Violin in A minor, Op. 4 no 4/RV 357 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1714; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1986 
Venue:  St Barnabas' Church, Finchley, London 
Length: 8 Minutes 20 Secs. 
4.
Concerto for Violin in E minor, Op. 4 no 2/RV 279 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1714; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1986 
Venue:  St Barnabas' Church, Finchley, London 
Length: 9 Minutes 39 Secs. 
5.
Concerto for Violin in A major, RV 347 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1986 
Venue:  St Barnabas' Church, Finchley, London 
Length: 9 Minutes 34 Secs. 
6.
Concerto for Violin in G minor, Op. 4 no 6/RV 316a by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1714; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1986 
Venue:  St Barnabas' Church, Finchley, London 
Length: 9 Minutes 17 Secs. 
7.
Concerto for Violin in C major, Op. 4 no 7/RV 185 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1714; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1986 
Venue:  St Barnabas' Church, Finchley, London 
Length: 7 Minutes 33 Secs. 
8.
Concerto for Violin in D minor, Op. 4 no 8/RV 249 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1714; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1986 
Venue:  St Barnabas' Church, Finchley, London 
Length: 7 Minutes 13 Secs. 
9.
Concerto for Violin in F major, Op. 4 no 9/RV 284 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1714; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1986 
Venue:  St Barnabas' Church, Finchley, London 
Length: 7 Minutes 22 Secs. 
10.
Concerto for Violin in C minor, Op. 4 no 10/RV 196 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1714; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1986 
Venue:  St Barnabas' Church, Finchley, London 
Length: 8 Minutes 8 Secs. 
11.
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 4 no 11/RV 204 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1714; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1986 
Venue:  St Barnabas' Church, Finchley, London 
Length: 6 Minutes 25 Secs. 
12.
Concerto for Violin in G major, Op. 4 no 12/RV 298 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1714; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1986 
Venue:  St Barnabas' Church, Finchley, London 
Length: 9 Minutes 17 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Agree April 3, 2012 By Richard H. (Glendale, AZ) See All My Reviews "I gotta agree with the recommendation of this recording. The entire orchestra plays with skill as do the soloists." Report Abuse
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