Anton Steck

Vivaldi: Concerti per violino, Vol. 2 - "Di Sfida"

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Even at a time when technically daunting violin concertos were all the rage, the six concertos assembled on this disc were remarkable for their difficulty; indeed, they were the most difficult concertos Vivaldi ever wrote. The B flat major Concerto that concludes the set at hand, for instance, may be the single most virtuosic work in the violin repertoire before Paganini. Fortunately, German violinist Anton Steck has what it takes. With bow blazing and fingers burning, Steck conquers the many challenges in these works with dash and panache: their slashing staccato, ringing ricochets, brave leaps, daring double stopping, searing sixty-fourth note scales, and almost impossibly high lying lines. Brilliantly accompanied by the excellent Italian period instrument orchestra Modo Antiquo led by Federico Maria Sardelli, Steck turns in literally breathtaking performances that deserve to be heard by anyone who loves great violin concertos and great violin playing. Naïve's 2006 digital sound is big and close, perhaps too big and close for every listener's comfort but still thoroughly impressive.

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