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Vivaldi: The Four Seasons; String Concertos / Biondi, Europa Galante


Release Date: 07/26/2011 
Label:  Naive   Catalog #: 30517   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fabio BiondiFabrizio CiprianiMaurizio NaddeoAntonio Fantinuoli,   ... 
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Reviews from some of the original recordings that make up this set:

"If you thought Nigel Kennedy’s version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concertos outrageously liberal, then give ear to Fabio Biondi’s swaggeringly improvisatory account with Europa Galante, which also has the considerable advantages of Biondi’s impeccable ‘historically informed’ credentials and of including the other eight concertos in Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione. Not only is Biondi every bit as much the extrovert showman as Kennedy (and a real Italian to boot), his continuo players are of the same ilk, ever ready to add to the potent mix. Biondi also thinks and rethinks, and for his text he has considered manuscript sources in
Read more Manchester (whose version of The Four Seasons, full of surprising little variants, he prefers), Dresden and Turin rather than relying on the music as published in the 1720s. It’s exciting, imaginative music-making of the first order, and even if matters sober up for the less well-known concertos, this release displaces my previous benchmark, the lively readings by Il Giardino Armonico (Italians again...) on Teldec."

-- Stephen Pettitt, BBC Music Magazine

At last a Vivaldi disc worthy of the composer's 250th anniversary. L'Europa Galante is an Italian ensemble previously unknown to me but, if this is the sort of thing of which its members are capable then the more we hear from them the better. Their programme is an interesting one of concertos more off the beaten track than on it. All are for strings in various combinations.

The concertos for one and two violins (RV 761 and 202) are comparative rarities. They have been recorded previously but not often and not, generally, particularly well. These performances sparkle with energy and reveal many perceptive insights by the soloist/director Fabio Biondi and his responsive Ensemble. The works themselves are interesting, too, invariably revealing Vivaldi's distinctive idiom, though also richly endowed with fantasy. Biondi himself is capable of light and articulate bowing and has a natural feeling for phrase. Intonation is not always secure but his gifts in general are such that I could easily forgive the occasional lapses. Perhaps what I have enjoyed most of all, however, is the light-footed, dexterous handling of tuttis which spring to life under Biondi's direction. Vivaldi's infectious rhythms are tautly controlled and their content interpreted with character and élan. These are virtuoso concertos in the main and Biondi seems to me to understand well those aspects of Vivaldi's manner which make his style distinctive. Perhaps the three ripieno concertos fare marginally less well though in each of them the players clearly savour the textures contained in their slow sections.

The highlight for me of this imaginatively presented programme is the Concerto in B flat for violin and cello. It is a frequently recorded work but never to my knowledge has it been treated to such an enlightened and passionate performance as it receives here. Outer movements are crisply articulated and played with almost startling energy while the poignant lyricism of the Andante is beautifully captured. My only criticism is that the cello is a shade more distantly balanced than the violin and that should not be so. Otherwise, a refreshing and illuminating disc which I have already listened to many times over and shall continue to do so. Strongly recommended.

-- Gramophone [9/1991]

Vivaldi enthusiasts should be grateful to L'Europa Galante and their violinist leader, Fabio Biondi, for showing initiative in recording concertos which have not been widely disseminated by other groups. Of the seven concertos included on this new disc, only one, R V281, is completely new to the catalogue. All the others have appeared, previously, at one time or another, though only RV531, for two cellos, at all frequently. In fact RV281, a Violin Concerto in E minor, is among the most interesting pieces here, full of commanding gestures in the tuttis and expressive fantasy in the virtuoso solo violin part. These are qualities in Vivaldi's music L'Europa Galante seek to highlight in their sprightly, mercurial performances, full of energy and spontaneity.

The remainder of the programme has been carefully planned to provide the listener with contrast in texture if not always of tonality. Thus, set alongside two concertos for solo violin are double concertos for cellos (RV531) and violin and organ (RV541), a cello concerto (RV407) and a concerto for ripieno strings (RV I 33). The soloists are all drawn from the ensemble and very accomplished they are, too. Fabio Biondi has a tendency, which I have noted elsewhere, to play a fraction under the note on occasion, but this is only an intermittent problem which hardly interrupted my enjoyment of his spirited playing and direction. The cellist, Maurizio Naddeo, has a pleasingly warm tone and a good ear for detail. The Cello Concerto in D minor, a seldom heard piece, comes over persuasively in his hands and he is sensitively supported by unison violins in the engaging slow movement. There is no mention of what chamber organ was used for the Concerto in D minor but it is a brightsounding one with character. Musically, perhaps, this work is of less interest than the two remaining solo concertos, for two violins and two cellos respectively. Both of these are played with panache and an awareness of the bold and striking nature of Vivaldi's invention.

Opus Ill are quickly building up a strong catalogue of pieces both familiar and largely, if not entirely, unknown, by a variety of baroque composers. This issue can be recommended without reservation and I look forward to further imaginative incursions to the Vivaldi we hear but seldom, if at all.

-- Gramophone [6/1994]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concertos (4) for Violin, Op. 8 no 1-4 "Four seasons" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fabio Biondi (Violin)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
2.
Concerto for Violin in E major, Op. 8 no 1/RV 269 "Primavera" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fabio Biondi (Violin)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1725; Venice, Italy 
3.
Concerto for Violin in G minor, Op. 8 no 2/RV 315 "L'estate" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fabio Biondi (Violin)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
4.
Concerto for Violin in F major, Op. 8 no 3/RV 293 "L'autunno" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fabio Biondi (Violin)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
5.
Concerto for Violin in F minor, Op. 8 no 4/RV 297 "L'inverno" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fabio Biondi (Violin)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
6.
Concerto for Violin in C major, RV 171 by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 1991 
Venue:  Graz, Austria 
Length: 9 Minutes 8 Secs. 
7.
Concerto for Strings in B flat major, RV 163 "Conca" by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 1991 
Venue:  Graz, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
8.
Concerto for Violin in E minor, RV 281 by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/1993 
Venue:  Asolo, Venice, Italy 
Length: 11 Minutes 8 Secs. 
9.
Concerto for Violin in F major, RV 286 "Per la Solennità di S Lorenzo" by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/1993 
Venue:  Asolo, Venice, Italy 
Length: 13 Minutes 53 Secs. 
10.
Concerto for Strings in E minor, RV 133 by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/1993 
Venue:  Asolo, Venice, Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 16 Secs. 
11.
Concerto for Cello in D minor, RV 407 by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/1993 
Venue:  Asolo, Venice, Italy 
Length: 8 Minutes 51 Secs. 
12.
Concerto for Violin and Organ in D minor, RV 541 by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/1993 
Venue:  Asolo, Venice, Italy 
Length: 8 Minutes 49 Secs. 
13.
Concerto for 2 Violins in D major, RV 511 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fabrizio Cipriani (Violin), Fabio Biondi (Violin)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/1993 
Venue:  Asolo, Venice, Italy 
Length: 13 Minutes 38 Secs. 
14.
Concerto for 2 Cellos in G minor, RV 531 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Maurizio Naddeo (Cello), Antonio Fantinuoli (Cello)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 04/1993 
Venue:  Asolo, Venice, Italy 
Length: 10 Minutes 30 Secs. 
15.
Concerto for Violin in C minor, RV 761 by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 03/1990 
Venue:  Rubiera, Italy 
Length: 9 Minutes 9 Secs. 
16.
Concerto for Strings in D minor, RV 129 "Madrigalesco" by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 03/1990 
Venue:  Rubiera, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
17.
Concerto for 2 Violins in G minor, RV 517 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fabio Biondi (Violin), Adrian Chamorro (Violin)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 03/1990 
Venue:  Rubiera, Italy 
Length: 9 Minutes 24 Secs. 
18.
Concerto for Violin and Cello in B flat major, RV 547 by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 03/1990 
Venue:  Rubiera, Italy 
Length: 8 Minutes 20 Secs. 
19.
Concerto for Violin in C minor, Op. 11 no 5/RV 202 by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1729; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 03/1990 
Venue:  Rubiera, Italy 
Length: 12 Minutes 22 Secs. 
20.
Concerto for Strings in E flat major, RV 130 "Sonata al Santo Sepolcro" by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 03/1990 
Venue:  Rubiera, Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 18 Secs. 
21.
Sinfonia for Strings in B minor, RV 169 "al Santo Sepolcro" by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 03/1990 
Venue:  Rubiera, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 8 Secs. 
22.
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in G minor, RV 26 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fabio Biondi (Violin), Maurizio Naddeo (Cello)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/1995 
Venue:  San Gottardo, Asolo, Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 9 Secs. 
23.
Sonata for Violin/Oboe and Basso Continuo in B flat major, RV 34 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fabio Biondi (Violin), Maurizio Naddeo (Cello)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/1995 
Venue:  San Gottardo, Asolo, Italy 
Length: 7 Minutes 1 Secs. 
24.
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in C minor, RV 5 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fabio Biondi (Violin), Maurizio Naddeo (Cello)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/1995 
Venue:  San Gottardo, Asolo, Italy 
Length: 13 Minutes 42 Secs. 
25.
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in D minor, RV 15 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fabio Biondi (Violin), Maurizio Naddeo (Cello)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/1995 
Venue:  San Gottardo, Asolo, Italy 
Length: 11 Minutes 50 Secs. 
26.
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in G minor, RV 28 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fabio Biondi (Violin), Maurizio Naddeo (Cello)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/1995 
Venue:  San Gottardo, Asolo, Italy 
Length: 11 Minutes 26 Secs. 
27.
Sarabande in C major by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Fabio Biondi (Violin), Maurizio Naddeo (Cello)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/1995 
Venue:  San Gottardo, Asolo, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 58 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Stunning Vivaldi July 27, 2014 By owen  r. (lakewood, CA) See All My Reviews "Arkiv's Notes and Editorial Reviews states this is ''exciting, imaginative music-making of the first order.'' This cogently sums up all there is to say about these superlative recordings. With 4 discs in this set, it is possibly too much of a good thing. After listening to the Four Seasons my mind is usually too stunned to proceed further." Report Abuse
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