Notes and Editorial Reviews
If you're going to foist yet another recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons on the world market, it had better be good--really good. And this one is certainly good enough, justifying its existence--and a possible claim on a few of our hard-earned dollars/euros/pounds/yen--with its assertive expressive character, ultra-refined ensemble, and terrific solo work from violinist Grazia Raimondi.
You'll never hear a more exciting, deliciously ferocious Presto from the "L'Estate" (Summer) concerto than here--wow!, this is the way to treat this unashamedly theatrical music, with verve, vivaciousness, and uninhibited fury--but served by flawless technical skill and ensemble precision. In fact, all of the Allegros and Prestos are
crisply articulated and infused with crackling energy, but never do the tempos feel pushed or frantic. Instead, these players understand the dramatic cues inherent in the music and artfully exploit these moments to give us a real sense of scenes, moods, and action. Raimondi may not light things up quite as hot as Carmignola (Sony) or Biondi (Virgin), but any differences are slight, and you'd be hard pressed to find any real fault in these performances. And I like the expressive rhetorical devices the players inject into the "discussion" through clever use of dynamics and bowing technique. This is first-class, distinctive--and distinguished--Vivaldi that will enhance an existing collection or serve as a reference version or sole choice.
An interesting, non-musical detail that will appeal to some listener/collectors is that this disc was recorded in Rome, Italy at a venue called Garage Bulgari (Nicola Bulgari's Garage), a museum that is home to one of the largest private collections of American vintage cars in the world. Although we don't get a list of all of the musical performers, Eloquentia's disc booklet is more than generous with pages of beautiful color photos of the automobiles that stood silent watch over the recording session. Highly recommended.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Concertos (4) for Violin, Op. 8 no 1-4 "Four seasons" by Antonio Vivaldi
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy
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