Shlomo Mintz

Vivaldi: Violin Concertos, Vol. 2

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This recording is part of a series on the Musical Heritage Society imprint, reissuing performances by the Russian-Israeli violinist Shlomo Mintz with the modern instrument Israel Chamber Orchestra. These are "choice selections" from a large Vivaldi set by Mintz that has already appeared several times, on the MusicMasters label and then on Nimbus. No information other than a tracklist is included, so it's hard to figure out what the selection criteria might have been. Certainly Mintz is one of the top violinists in the world, and for purity of tone in Vivaldi's slow movements he's hard to top. Yet it's a bit hard to understand why these performances have proven so durable. The Israel Chamber Orchestra isn't especially convincing in Vivaldi, and there are any number of other ensembles with either more vigor or more precision, depending on which you prefer, and Baroque violinists from Trevor Pinnock down to the group of Italians who have essayed Vivaldi in the last decade do better at capturing the dramatic qualities of the music. It's true that a large Vivaldi anthology was an unorthodox move for a violinist of Mintz's stature, and it may be that many of his fans have discovered Vivaldi concertos beyond the Four Seasons (which isn't even included) through these performances. Mintz fans, then, may find these single-disc samplers enjoyable.

blue highlight denotes track pick