Vivaldi's Four Seasons violin concertos are perhaps the most famous pieces of classical music in existence, and new versions of them continue to find a market. A performance by a regional French orchestra and a rising French violinist, none of them using historical instruments, might seem to have a hard road ahead to make itself heard, but this little reading is rounded out with a pair of other very common Vivaldi concertos. The disc was recorded live at a festival in Reims that has served as source material for a number of releases on the Transart label, which is oriented toward live recordings. Violinist Olivier Charlier has a fine singing tone and simply plays to his strengths, shifting the emphasis to the slow (and slower) movements and their limpid melodies. The result is that the most enduring and endearing Vivaldi melody of all (track 11) comes out very well indeed here, and in general the strong tempo contrasts work to the benefit of the music's pictorial scenes. The outer movements contain little that hasn't been done many times before, and the live engineering is uninspiring. But the lesson is that no matter how familiar the Vivaldi Four Seasons may become as they approach their second half century at the top of the classical heap, there's still plenty of room for individual musicians to find the places where these concertos fit their particular talents.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|The Four Seasons, Op. 8|
|L' Estro armonico, Op. 3, Concerto No. 6 in A minor for violin and strings, RV 356|
|L' Estro armonico, Op. 3, Concerto No. 9 in D major for violin and strings, RV 230|
|L' Estro armonico, Op. 3,Concerto No. 9 in D major for violin and strings, RV 230|