Rachel Podger / Brecon Baroque

Vivaldi: Le Quattro Stagioni; Il Grosso Mogul; Il Riposo; L'Amoroso

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Among countless interpretations of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, which range from modernized performances for large string orchestra to period-style versions for much leaner ensembles, there are few as pared-down as Rachel Podger's performances with Brecon Baroque. Podger plays the virtuosic solo violin part and directs an ensemble consisting of two violins, one viola, and one cello, supported by a continuo of violone, theorbo, and harpsichord or chamber organ. This might give an impression of extreme austerity or thinness of sound, but the surprising richness of the group's textures suggests that tonal production counts more than the number of players. While nobody knows the actual size of Vivaldi's orchestra, and some favor the moderately large string orchestra Vivaldi conducted at the Ospedale della Pietà, he might have encountered a different size of orchestra at the court of Mantua, where he composed the Four Seasons. At any rate, Podger and her musicians produce a remarkably colorful performance, and fill out the rest of the album with three more violin concertos, Il Riposo per Il santissimo Natale, L'Amoroso, and Il Grosso Mogul, which give new listeners a chance to explore less familiar Vivaldi. Channel Classics recorded this album in St. Jude's Church, London, and the resonant but unobtrusive acoustics contribute to the group's vibrant sound. Highly recommended.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Le Quattro Stagioni
1 03:24 Amazon
2 02:41 Amazon
3 03:48 Amazon
4 05:17 Amazon
5 02:02 Amazon
6 02:50 Amazon
7 05:15 Amazon
8 02:20 Amazon
9 03:06 Amazon
10 03:18 Amazon
11 02:15 Amazon
12 03:39 Amazon
Il Riposo per Il S.S. Natale RV 270
13 04:06 Amazon
14 01:04 Amazon
15 02:27 Amazon
Concerto L'Amoroso RV 271
16 04:31 Amazon
17 02:31 Amazon
18 03:33 Amazon
Concerto Il Grosso Mogul RV 208
19 05:39 Amazon
20 02:52 Amazon
21 08:42 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick