Giuliano Carmignola / Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca

Vivaldi: Le Quattro Stagioni; Violin Concertos

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AllMusic Review by

Dutch label Brilliant tends to issue giant budget box sets, with mixed results. This one, collecting a group of 1990s recordings originally appearing on the small Divox label from Switzerland, has some of the characteristic flaws (like random booklet notes that don't match up with the music involved), but it actually assembles three discs' worth of music that belongs together in a single program. What you get here is an unusually broad range of insight into Vivaldi as a programmatic or representational composer. The program begins with the most famous Vivaldi work of all, programmatic or not, the four violin concertos known as Le Quattro Stagioni or the Four Seasons. The rest of the music is much rarer. The second disc presents a set of five concertos grouped under the title "Le Humane Passioni" -- the Human Passions. They are comparable to Couperin's subtle personifications of emotion, but they are not written in a French style. Instead, they are just as imaginative as the Four Seasons within the restrains of the typical three-movement concerto form. The most performed of the group is the Violin Concerto in D major, RV 234, "L'inquietudine," with its tumultuous quality, but equally enjoyable is the Violin Concerto in E major, RV 271, which seems almost to poke fun at the lovestruck personality. These concertos deserve to be played a bit more expressively than the way they're heard here in performances by a group of musicians all from the Venice area, but they don't get in the music's way; violinist Giuliano Carmignola is one of the few violinists to have made a successful transition to Baroque-style playing from a conventional background. The final disc contains five concertos written for performance in churches, plus one odd Concerto "LDVB" (Grosso Mogul) in D major, RV 208, apparently added to fill out the disc. These date from various phases of Vivaldi's career, and listeners may find it difficult to detect a specific sacred style; the Concerto "Per la Solennita della S. Lingua di S. Antonio in Padua," RV 212 (CD 3, tracks 1-3), an early work, pushes the violin to the high extremes of its range. The set as a whole permanently puts to rest the old saw that Vivaldi wrote the same concerto 500 times; there are sharper Vivaldi recordings out there, but this one delivers a large number of exceptionally interesting concertos at a budget price.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The Four Seasons (Il quattro stagione), concertos (4) for violin, strings & continuo ("Il cimento" Nos. 1-4) , Op. 8/1 - 4
1
3:15
2
2:19
3
3:48
4
5:06
5
2:13
6
2:28
7
4:49
8
2:37
9
3:01
10
3:11
11
1:49
12
2:55
Concerto for 3 violins, strings & continuo in F major, RV 551
13
4:29
14
2:20
15
2:58
Concerto for strings & continuo in D minor, RV 128
16
2:37
17
1:20
18
1:27

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in E minor ("Il favorito"), Op. 11/2, RV 277
1
4:43
2
4:10
3
4:34
Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in D major ("L'inquietudine"), RV 234
4
2:13
5
1:34
6
2:46
Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in C minor ("Il sospetto"), RV 199
7
4:03
8
2:18
9
2:41
Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in E major ("L'amoroso"), RV 271
10
3:55
11
3:13
12
3:36
Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in C major ("Il piacere"; "Il Cimento" No. 6), Op. 8/6, RV 180
13
2:50
14
2:46
15
2:39
Concerto for strings & continuo in G minor, RV 153
16
2:20
17
2:13
18
1:31

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Concerto fatto per la solennità della santa Lingua di S. Antonio in Padua, for violin, strings & continuo in D major, RV 212a
1
5:09
2
3:02
3
5:00
Concerto Il riposo, concerto per il Santissimo Natale, for violin, strings & continuo in E major, RV 270
4
4:16
5
1:05
6
2:33
Concerto per la solennità di S Lorenzo, for violin, strings & continuo in F major (also attributed to J. G. Graun), RV 286
7
5:32
8
3:11
9
5:03
Double Orchestra Concerto Per la SS Assontione di Maria Vergine, for violin, 2 string orchestras & continuo in D major, RV 582
10
5:22
11
2:29
12
5:10
Double Orchestra Concerto Per la SS Assontione di Maria Vergine, for violin, 2 string orchestras & continuo in C major, RV 581
13
5:15
14
3:48
15
4:33
Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in D major ("Il grosso Mogul"), RV 208
16
4:56
17
2:19
18
6:34
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