Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble

Vivaldi: The 4 Seasons

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AllMusic Review by

If listeners had to commit to a single version of Vivaldi's Four Seasons for the rest of their lives, this 1984 BIS recording would be thoroughly satisfying choice. Superbly played, brilliantly recorded period instrument performances of this perennial masterpiece are all but a dime a dozen, and the differences between Hogwood's and Pinnock's and Harnoncourt's readings don't begin to make up for the fatal boredom of their performances. This version with Nils-Erik Sparf and the Drottningholm Court Baroque Ensemble would be an ideal choice because theirs is the freshest performance of the piece. Beyond their excellent technique and impeccable sense of style, Sparf and the Swedish musicians bring joy and enthusiasm to the music, and sound like they are in turn receiving happiness and energy from the music. There's real pleasure here, and real affection, as if the concertos were newly composed and these were their world premieres. Filled out with witty accounts of Vivaldi's F major Concerto for Bassoon and his G minor Concerto for Flute and Bassoon, this disc is a delight. BIS' early digital sound is as clear, clean, deep, honest, and true, in its way, as its latest super audio digital sound.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in E major ("La Primavera," The Four Seasons; "Il cimento" No. 1), Op.8/1, RV 269
1
3:15
2
2:15
3
4:04
Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in G minor ("L'estate," The Four Seasons; "Il cimento" No. 2), Op. 8/2, RV 315
4
5:44
5
2:33
6
2:57
Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in F major ("L'autunno," The Four Seasons; "Il cimento" No. 3), Op.8/3, RV 293
7
4:54
8
2:23
9
3:07
Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in F minor ("L'inverno," The Four Seasons; "Il cimento" No. 4), Op. 8/4, RV 297
10
3:24
11
1:39
12
3:29
Bassoon Concerto, for bassoon, strings & continuo in F major, RV 485
13
5:07
14
3:01
15
3:32
Flute Concerto, for flute, strings & continuo in G minor ("La Notte"), Op. 10/2, RV 439
16
4:36
17
1:56
18
2:38
blue highlight denotes track pick