Fabio Biondi / Europa Galante

Vivaldi: I concerti dell'addio - The Farewell Concertos

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AllMusic Review by

There are two distinctive features to this release on the Spanish label Glossa. First is the return to Vivaldi of the flamboyant Italian historical-performance violinist Fabio Biondi; he made his name with highly original Vivaldi recordings in the early 2000s, but has ventured into other territories since then with mixed results. His high-energy, high-contrast Vivaldi is always a pleasure to hear. Better still, it's applied here to some music to which it is unusually well suited, and furthermore to music that's been hitherto unknown. The six concertos on the program were part of a set compiled by a nobleman in what is now the Czech city of Brno; in 1740 it would have been German-speaking Brünn in the Habsburg empire. Vivaldi, at the end of his financial rope, had fled Italy for Habsburg Vienna in the hopes of finding an atmosphere more congenial to his music. He apparently composed these pieces shortly before his death. The Concerti dell'Addio (Concertos of Farewell) title is a misleading one; Vivaldi wasn't planning on dying, and the concertos have no debilitated mood. But the works are dazzling fusions of styles, careening from high-level virtuosity to the new light galant style and making it all fit together. Biondi ramps up the spectacle with tempo shifts, continuo contrasts, and liberal ornamentation, and while his reading as usual might not be for everybody, it will make some feel as though they've heard something entirely new in Vivaldi. Glossa's sound is not really successful; it's miked very close up -- breathing and all -- for no good reason, and the church acoustic would not have been a match for the music in its own time.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Violin Concerto in B minor, RV 390
1 1:01
2 5:16
3 2:36
4 3:41
Violin Concerto in E minor, RV 273
5 4:21
6 3:42
7 3:43
Violin Concerto in B flat major, RV 371
8 4:59
9 4:35
10 3:57
Violin Concerto in C major, RV 189
11 0:31
12 5:00
13 6:04
14 4:14
Violin Concerto in B flat major, RV 367
15 6:00
16 3:20
17 3:54
Violin Concerto in F major, RV 286
18 0:29
19 4:45
20 2:55
21 4:43
blue highlight denotes track pick