Notes and Editorial Reviews
Concerto in g for 2 violins and cello,
Violin Concertos: in B?,
RV 372, “Per Signora Chiara”;
The Four Seasons,
Amandine Beyer (vn); dir; Gli Incogniti
ZIG-ZAG 80803 (70:56)
Gli Incogniti’s collection for Zig-Zag includes not only Vivaldi’s blockbuster but
also three obscure concertos. The booklet identifies one of the two “world premieres” (the first two items on the program), in fact—the Concerto in G minor, RV 578a—as an earlier version (from 1705-1710) of the Concerto, op. 3/2—with more highly developed dialogue in the third (slow) movement and a different finale—discovered only days before the recording sessions. Beyer and the ensemble play the first and third movements of that work, Adagio e spiccato and Largo e spiccato, respectively, with a crispness that would have allowed the hall’s natural reverberation to fill in the gaps. In the fast (second and fourth) movements, the tutti passages proceed at bracing tempos that launch the soloists on flights of energetic violinistic figuration. Another premiere, of the Concerto, RV 372, “Per Signora Chiara,” serves as an example not only of the kind of work Vivaldi composed for specific violinistic talents at the Pietà, but also demonstrates a personality all its own. Beyer and the ensemble maintain light and transparent textures, piquantly and wittily tracing the first movement’s filigree, plaintively though teasingly singing the slow movement, and serving up the last movement’s opening thematic material with impudent brilliance.
Amandine Beyer’s notes to
(musicologist Olivier Fourés, who discovered or edited the three concertos that fill out the program, provided notes on them) mention the great number of diverse recordings that have preceded hers. But however great the ensemble’s range may be, there’s still room for her lambent violin solos, played against a background of sharp articulation and percussive continuo. And the viola’s bark in the second movement of “Summer,” which Beyer mentions, provides an uncannily realistic foil for her richly ornamented solo. The finale is extraordinarily dance-like—while some of the violinist’s ideas may have come from the Manchester edition, which she consulted, the energy remains her own. The brisk peasant dance and hunt of “Autumn” could make a listener’s heart pound, though they never seem rushed; Beyer’s inquiries into the best way of depicting the sleeping drunkard in that concerto’s slow movement seem to have borne correspondingly realistic fruit. The same is true, again, of the rumbling pitter-patter raindrop accompaniment in the slow movement of “Winter,” still another effect that Beyer mentions having carefully calibrated. While the set’s graphic representations hold the listener’s attention (with occasional novel harmonies, some perhaps chosen from among the Manchester edition’s alternatives), they never rise to the threshold of aesthetic pain. Some of the most striking of the versions of
, in fact, like those by Europa Galante, the Venice Baroque Orchestra, or Il Giardino Armonico, inevitably invite the question as to whether the mild electric shocks they administer will continue to provide pleasure after repeated hearings. My guess is that these readings don’t make a one-off listening experience, and my recommendation is therefore all the stronger.
The less familiar Concerto, RV 390, layers lyrical elements over bustling accompaniments in the first movement and a shyly chaste, delicate melody over pizzicato in the second. The ensemble’s focus may soften, but both Beyer and Gli Incogniti remain identifiable in this less typical concerto.
The engineers have generally placed the soloist in the middle of the ensemble’s sonic web, itself captured at some distance and with a modicum of reverberation. The ensemble’s sound matches Beyer’s in its buoyancy, its starchy rhythmic vigor never trumping tonal sweetness. Urgently recommended.
FANFARE: Robert Maxham
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Violin in B minor, RV 390 by Antonio Vivaldi
Amandine Beyer (Violin)
Written: Venice, Italy
Be the first to review this title