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Vivaldi: Violin Concertos Op 6 / Manze, Hogwood, Et Al


Release Date: 09/12/2000 
Label:  L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog #: 455653   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Andrew ManzeChristopher Hogwood
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The biography of Andrew Manze at the back of Decca's booklet cites a reference to him in the BBC Music Magazine as a sort of Baroque Grappelli. Now, in the Menuhin and Grappelli duo, Grappelli ran rings around his classical partner in improvisatory or pseudoimprovisatory passages, while Menuhin outshone his jazz partner in purely lyrical ones. Correspondingly, Manze reigns supreme in those works in which he can unleash his imagination. (That these aren't always unfamiliar ones emerges from his brilliant encrustation of trills and other ornaments in Tartini's well-known "Devil's Trill.") The question of what happens when he reins in that imagination will resurface later in the review.

In recognizability, Vivaldi's op.
Read more 6 provides a sort of middle ground—little-known works in a familiar style. (These Concertos haven't been frequently recorded, though some have received more attention than others.) Marc Pincherle, almost half a century ago, had been aware of the watershed they represented, noting that Giuseppe Matteo Alberti had appropriated a style of writing not characteristic of Vivaldi until op. 6. In fact, nothing like the double-stops of op. 6/12 and the Locatelli-like aerobatics of op. 6/5 appear in the famous concertos of op. 3 (although the reverse isn't true: Almost infamous passages from op. 3/6 reappear in op. 6/3—did Vivaldi take Bach-like delight in the number reversal?). And the breathtaking ripieno finale of op. 6/3 serves as a reminder of how Vivaldi could whip his purely orchestral textures to a frenzy. Decca has included a performance of RV 225, "Cuckoo," a concerto that ranks with Vivaldi's showiest, parading almost the full violinistic arsenal with which he dazzled, or vexed, his listeners (Uffenbach, who heard him, expressed more amazement than pleasure at such a cadenza, presumably at a performance of his virtuosic Concerto "Per la Solennità della S. Lingua di S. Antonio in Padua," RV 212a). Is it only a trivial point that Vivaldi's cuckoo in this concerto, like the one in Mahler's First Symphony, seems to prefer fourths to thirds—or does an interdisciplinary doctoral dissertation lurk in the wings?

The Academy plays these neglected works with a crunchy vivacity that sets the stage for its illustrious soloist. Since Manze holds himself respectfully in check, however, the question adumbrated in the first paragraph inevitably arises: whether, if he can't or won't play Grappelli in these works, he can play Menuhin. To begin with, Manze's tone on his 1783 Joseph Gagliano, rich on its infrequently visited G string and lithe and sinewy on the middle ones, although mildly abrasive on the E, doesn't sound pinched and acidulous like that of many other period instrumentalists. Still, it's penetrating London fog rather than liquid Italian sunshine. Somewhat less aggressively than does his teacher, Simon Standage, Manze effects a compromise between the old and the new (which, in the case of violin sound, translates paradoxically into the new and the old, respectively). His manner of approaching his instrument shouldn't, in itself, therefore, very deeply offend listeners from either camp. And his performances of these concertos likewise takes a via media. He lets Vivaldi's figuration speak for itself, ornamenting it comparatively sparingly, as he did in his concertos from the collection for the Prince of Poland (Harmonia Mundi France HMU 907230, which I reviewed in 21:5). Whether these performances stand up to earlier ones by Pina Carmirelli in 1974 with 1 Musici (Vivaldi Edition, Philips 456 185-2) or I Solisti Italiani's version (Denon CO-18024, which I found "lighter in tonal weight and more energetic" in 21:4—the Guglielmos are no strangers to "period performance"), however, will depend partly on the listeners' preference for period as opposed to modern instruments, and partly on their estimate of Manze's purely violinistic, quite apart from his musical and improvisatory, skills. On the basis of his performance of the "Cuckoo" Concerto, few should have reason to complain on the latter score. But the former issue may still trouble some listeners. To those without agendas, however, the Academy's energy and dash, Manze's technical brilliance, and the lively recorded sound ensure that Decca's collection can be unhesitatingly—and strongly—recommended.

-- Robert Maxham, Fanfare Magazine
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concertos (6) for Violin, Op. 6 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Andrew Manze (Violin)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1716-1717; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 45 Minutes 28 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Violin in A major, RV 335 "The cuckow" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Andrew Manze (Violin), Christopher Hogwood (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 10 Minutes 58 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Concerto for Violin and Strings in G minor , Op.6/1 , RV 324: 1. Allegro
Concerto for Violin and Strings in G minor , Op.6/1 , RV 324: 2. Grave
Concerto for Violin and Strings in G minor , Op.6/1 , RV 324: 3. Allegro
Concerto for Violin and Strings in E flat , Op.6/2 , RV 259: 1. Allegro
Concerto for Violin and Strings in E flat , Op.6/2 , RV 259: 2. Largo
Concerto for Violin and Strings in E flat , Op.6/2 , RV 259: 3. Allegro
Concerto for Violin and Strings in G minor , Op.6/3 , RV 318: 1. Allegro
Concerto for Violin and Strings in G minor , Op.6/3 , RV 318: 2. Adagio
Concerto for Violin and Strings in G minor , Op.6/3 , RV 318: 3. Allegro
Concerto for Violin and Strings in D , Op.6/4 , RV 216: 1. Allegro
Concerto for Violin and Strings in D , Op.6/4 , RV 216: 2. Adagio
Concerto for Violin and Strings in D , Op.6/4 , RV 216: 3. Allegro
Concerto for Violin and Strings in E minor , Op.6/5 , RV 280: 1. Allegro
Concerto for Violin and Strings in E minor , Op.6/5 , RV 280: 2. Largo
Concerto for Violin and Strings in E minor , Op.6/5 , RV 280: 3. Allegro
Concerto for Violin and Strings in D minor , Op.6/6 , RV 239: 1. Allegro
Concerto for Violin and Strings in D minor , Op.6/6 , RV 239: 2. Largo
Concerto for Violin and Strings in D minor , Op.6/6 , RV 239: 3. Allegro
Concerto in A major for violin & strings, RV335 - "The Cuckow": 1. Allegro
Concerto in A major for violin & strings, RV335 - "The Cuckow": 2. Largo
Concerto in A major for violin & strings, RV335 - "The Cuckow": 3. Allegro

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