Notes and Editorial Reviews
This appealing new recording of The Four Seasons recalls (in period-instrument terms) the elegant, stylish recordings of I Musici and other top-notch Italian chamber orchestras. Martin Pearlman and soloist Christina Day Martinson approach the music through its vocal origins: everything sings, particularly the arias that constitute the slow movements of Spring and Winter, with their characterful ornamentation and sweet tone. Pearlman also presides over a restrained but crystal-clear continuo of harpsichord and theorbo, a far cry from some performances whose "everything including the kitchen sink" approach threatens to overwhelm the string ensemble.
I am not saying that these performances lack anything in the way of
color or character. The opening of Winter has the requisite, raspy tone color, and the peasant dances in Autumn are nicely earthy. But unlike some other period-instrument versions (say, Harnoncourt or Il giardino armonico) Pearlman never sacrifices the music's cantabile lines in a relentless pursuit of programmatic detail (sometimes to the point of ugliness). The two Geminiani concertos make apt and enjoyable couplings, and Telarc's multi-channel sonics are very warm and naturally balanced, if perhaps just a touch lacking in presence. A fine release.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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