Vivaldi: Chamber Sonatas, RV 53, 58, 59, 81 (Lund) & 779 (Salmoè)

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LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Chamber Sonatas, RV 53, 58, 59, 81 (Lund) & 779 (Salmoè)
PERFORMER: Paul Goodwin, Gail Hennessey (Baroque oboes), John Holloway (Baroque violin), Colin Lawson (chalumeau), Nigel North (archlute andguitar), Susan Sheppard (Baroque cello), Frances Eustace (Baroque bassoon), John Toll (harpsichord andorgan)
This CD collects together some attractive Vivaldi rarities. They include his only surviving sonatas for solo oboe, RV 81, plus the little-heard quartet sonata for oboe, violin, organ and chalumeau (single-reed instrument, related to the clarinet), RV 779, which was discovered in a library in Dresden as recently as the mid-Seventies.


The disc’s two remaining pieces, RV 58 and RV 59, are not by Vivaldi at all! Though published under his name in 1737, they are now known to be the work of the Frenchman Nicolas Chédeville, who, nevertheless, composed his forgeries with such flair that they passed as genuine Vivaldi for two centuries. A listen to the lovely, lilting Pastorale of RV 59 will help to explain why.


Of the authentic pieces, the haunting RV 779 shares its lead voices between oboe, violin and gently exuberant organ. In RV 53 and RV 81, however, the oboe is in the limelight itself, exerting its charms most winningly in the former’s opening Adagio, with its melting lyricism, and in the latter’s elegant Largo, where the two oboes entwine with an exquisite delicacy. Paul Goodwin plays these pieces with a disarming finesse that exactly fits the Baroque chamber repertoire. He receives sensitive support from his fellow musicians and the sound is excellent. A delightful release. Graham Lock