Sally Bruce-Payne / Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima

Vivaldi: A Tale of Two Seasons - Concertos & Arias

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The title A Tale of Two Seasons has nothing to do with Vivaldi's Four Seasons violin concertos, but rather to two operatic seasons, those of 1717 and 1733, during which the works here might have arisen or at least been used. Due to the chaotic transmission of his music, much of it is difficult to precisely date, but the works here were likely associated with each other in two sets, one from the earlier season and one from the later. The combination of operatic arias and concertos is authentic, for Vivaldi and perhaps his student Pisendel are known to have performed concertos between acts of at least the first of these operas, and it was in this arena that the crossover of style between opera and concerto that does so much to define Vivaldi's music seems to have taken place. British violinist Adrian Chandler and his ensemble La Serenissima do very well at bringing the relationships out. The group's style is a somewhat calmed-down version of the tumultuous operatic-instrumental style perfected by Italian players, and operatic reference such as the recitative-like slow movement of the Violin Concerto in D major, RV 208 ("Il Grosso Mogul"), receive their proper weight. The concertos, none of them common ones, range from interesting to spectacular. And the differences in Vivaldi's style between the 1717 and 1733 works here make it especially clear that Vivaldi as much invented as followed the emerging galant manner. The two arias from the incompletely preserved 1733 opera Montezuma make one want to hear more about that work and its presumably Mexican setting. If there's a weak point here it's the singing of mezzo soprano Sally Bruce-Payne, who lacks the fire required for the bigger vocal pieces. But in the main this is a state-of-the-art album for those wanting to get deeper into Vivaldi and how his music changed over the course of his career.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
L' Incoronazione di Dario, RV 719
1 2:32
2 2:23
3 0:49
4 2:20
Arsilda, RV 700
5 5:12
L' Incoronazione di Dario, RV 719
6 5:28
Violin Concerto in D, RV 208 ("Grosso Mogul")
7 5:44
8 2:46
9 7:53
Violin Concerto in B flat, RV 367
10 5:50
11 3:31
12 4:45
Montezuma, RV 723
13 7:20
14 5:07
Violin Concerto in C, RV 191
15 5:30
16 3:42
17 5:16
blue highlight denotes track pick