Given all the choices of period vs. modern instruments and performance practice in finding a recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, this is one period version worth having. It wasn't the first recording of the concertos on period instruments, but it remains an outstanding one decades after its original release. In the booklet accompanying this Decca reissue of a classic L'Oiseau Lyre recording are notes explaining why it's a classic. Christopher Hogwood had ideas about performance practices in Vivaldi's day that differed from other period-instrument recordings at the time. For instance, each concerto here features a different soloist, pulled from the regular Academy of Ancient Music ensemble, but there is still a consistent sound betweenRead more them. It's an extremely polished performance that is oh-so-elegant and would be hard to beat in terms of ensemble work, yet it still conveys the programmatic details of each concerto. In the first movement of "Summer," the way the upward-swinging three-note figures are never forced and never abrupt very clearly gives a sense of the heat, the laziness, and haziness of a summer day. The dance at the end of "Spring" is more pastorally refreshing than enthusiastically rustic. The Adagio in "Autumn" is still enough to make the harpsichord seem like a tip-toeing intruder. Other recordings may be more vivid or intentionally flamboyant in telling the stories behind each concerto, but Hogwood and the Academy prove it can be done much more subtly and be just as satisfying (or more so) to hear. L'Oiseau-Lyre's sound allows the drier, wirier sound of the Baroque instruments through nicely, but with enough resonance to alleviate any coldness in it.
Not just another Four SeasonsJanuary 15, 2015By Jerry G. (Edgewater, CO)See All My Reviews"This brings my total of The Four Seasons to about ten. They are all different in subtle ways. I found the slower tempo a welcome variation from most of my other recordings. An excellent addition to my collection."Report Abuse