Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons is one of the most universally recognized and beloved works in western music, and there is no shortage of excellent recordings on the market, in various interpretations and arrangements. This 2014 Signum Classics release by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment belongs to a growing number of historically informed performances, which employ authentic Baroque techniques, original instrumentation, and historically accurate style, in accordance with the best scholarship. Simply put, the renditions on this album have the verve and luster that Vivaldi might have wanted in these picturesque concertos, and the musicians make every effort to re-create the Four Seasons as they would have been heard in the early 18th century. Led by violinist Kati Debretzeni, who plays the spectacular solo part in all four concertos, the performances are bright and energetic, with crisp accentuation and meticulous execution. Special attention is paid to the nature sounds Vivaldi imitated in his score and indicated in the published poetry, with bird calls, rustic clapping and stomping, and other extraordinary effects added to heighten the scene painting. Signum's recording is close-up but fully dimensional, so there is clear separation between Debretzeni and the ensemble, and every detail is clear.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|The Four Seasons, Op. 8|