Antonio Vivaldi was one of the most prolific composers ever in terms of concertos, and with the modern proliferation of period performance practice recordings being made of Baroque music, it's wonderful to see more of the "Red Priest's" lesser-known chamber works gaining some exposure. This album by violinist Enrico Gatti and Ensemble Aurora presents seven of the sonatas from Vivaldi's Op. 2 for violin and continuo. The liner notes, written by the artist himself, are quite informative and give clear insight on his approach to the sonatas, as well as their historical position among Vivaldi's greater oeuvre. The performances themselves don't quite deliver on the excitement that's built up in the notes, however. Gatti's playing is quite solid, with clean articulation and generally solid intonation. What the performances lack, though, is sufficient contrast between the movements. It's also difficult not to draw comparisons between Gatti and other prominent artists on the Baroque violin scene, such as Giuliano Carmignola. Gatti's approach to the violin is far less energetic and daring, which, when coupled with the lack of contrast between movements, yields an unfortunately safe-sounding, lackluster performance. So while this album is a perfectly acceptable source for another glimpse at Vivaldi's huge output, it's unlikely to make listeners jump out of their seats with excitement.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Sonatas (12) for violin & continuo, Op. 2|