Vivaldi's many cello concertos are performed here with consummate taste and superb musicality by Roel Dieltiens and the Ensemble Explorations. Recorded in 1997 and 2001 and originally released separately by Harmonia Mundi, this 2007 lavishly packaged reissue includes both discs complete with entertaining and informative essays and more than a dozen very lovely (though very tiny) reproductions of paintings of Vivaldi's Venice. Dieltiens plays with a rich tone and a light touch and his robust virtuosity and enthusiastic sympathy for the music are irresistible. The seven members of the Ensemble Explorations -- five strings plus lute or guitar and organ or harpsichord -- play with a sense of cooperation, which leaves this music sounding as concertos from the period should, which is to say more like chamber music. Harmonia Mundi's sound is cool and clear, yet deep and full. Though fans of modern cellos and modern performance practices might prefer more romantic interpretations, anyone with an interest in period instruments and period performance practice will want to hear these recordings.
Vivaldi: Cello Concertos Review
by James Leonard