Vivaldi Violin Concertos Vol. 4
By far the greater number of Vivaldi’s concertos have now been issued on disc. What remain to be released are some 20-or-more violin concertos. This CD, like its three predecessors, has a subtitle: L’imperatore is a reference to Austrian emperor Charles VI, a music enthusiast with whom Vivaldi was personally acquainted. The composer dedicated two sets of 12 concertos to him. Both were titled La cetra (The Lyre) but only one of them, Op. 9, was printed. The other, alas, has survived incomplete. Four of the seven concertos here are drawn from these sets, while a fifth, RV 171, has direct associations with the emperor. Two others, RV 181 and 331, may be recorded here for the first time.
Riccardo Minasi is a player with a lively feeling for theatrical gesture and a technique that comfortably accommodates Vivaldi’s virtuosity. He breathes life into these wonderfully expressive concertos with a musical rapport that perhaps responds more readily to bravura passages than to lyrical ones. Sometimes it is merely a matter of tempo – on occasion Minasi reveals acute sensibility, as in the poetically spoken Largo of RV 327. That said, few if any readers will find disappointment in playing of this order, and committed Vivaldians should be delighted by these newcomers to the catalogue.