VIVALDI The Four Seasons. Concerto for 3 Violins, Viola & Bass, RV 551. Concerto for Strings in d, RV 128 • Giuliano Carmignola (vn); Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca • DIVOX CDX 79404 (53:00)
"Gone is the syrupy string work of early LPs that used to sound like Mantovani. In its place is a very varied and vital mix of textures and rhythms. The old recordings featured a limited dynamicRead more range and metronomic rhythm that suggested to me the musicians wanted to join their audience in an after-dinner nap. Not so with the Sonatori. They go for it with vim and vigor, from the smallest of tones that suggest a summer afternoon’s nap interrupted by a fly’s buzzing, to the sudden fury of a winter storm. They play with restraint sometimes, and bravura at others. They get an outstanding performance from their instrumentalists, especially the amazing Giuliano Carmignola, the lead violinist, who brings out the best in the ensemble.
I don’t know why anyone would say that some recordings deserve to be included in a list of the 20th century’s greatest, as one critic in another magazine said of this one. (Well, maybe I do. The urge to be the alpha dog seems to be in the DNA, but we’ll go into that another time.) I’d think being one of the top 10 contenders for the heavyweight championship is not exactly appropriate when discussing recordings of Vivaldi. But, if there is merit in such foolishness, this recording is highly ranked with some justification. It is gorgeous. It is seductive. It has a knack for keeping my interest just to hear what will happen next, even in the Concerto for Strings, where no instrument is favored. This is not your father’s Vivaldi.
When we came out of the caves, Miles Davis’s heavyweight title on trumpet was challenged by upstart Clifford Brown. A story went around that a famous jazzman was asked to explain the difference between Miles and Clifford, and he answered, off the record, “Clifford is like a Miles Davis with balls.” That’s what the Sonatori version brings to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. I like it much more than the white bread and mayonnaise versions. If you haven’t given up after the lead paragraph I think you will too. As regards performance, I’ve heard none better; sonically, I’ve heard none finer; and I know of none as influential. So I recommend this recording with highest accolades. Summa cum laude. As the esteemed critic Mick Jagger once said, “It’s a gas, gas, GAS.”
Best Four Seasons I Ever Heard!!!August 31, 2012By Richard Buckley (Oakmont, PA)See All My Reviews"If you have not yet heard this amazing disc, you will not believe it when you do! Everybody has heard countless presentations of this Vivaldi masterpiece - enough to make it almost trite - but until you hear it played by this magnificent Italian chamber group, you haven't heard anything! This is by far the most masterful performance of The Four Seasons available to the public.
There is a zest, an inner life, imbued into this performance that will make you think that you never heard the work before. The performers are attentive to detail and play together with precision and feeling. They specialize in Baroque and have a special talent for the music of Vivaldi.
I really lack the words to adequately describe just how moving this version of The Four Seasons is. The sound is suitably sensational. If you only add one more disc to your classical collection, make it this one. You won't be sorry. A+++++ and then some!!"Report Abuse