Gli Incogniti and Mandne Beyer perform Concertos for two violins by Vivaldi

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COMPOSERS: Vivaldi
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
ALBUM TITLE: Vivaldi
WORKS: Concertos for two violins, RV 505, 507, 513, 527 & 529
PERFORMER: Amandine Beyer (violin); Gli Incogniti
CATALOGUE NO: HMC 902249

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Some years ago Giuliano Carmignola joined Viktoria Mullova in a dazzlingly virtuosic disc of six concertos for two violins by Vivaldi. But for this release featuring six more Vivaldi double violin concertos, he’s joined by the more naturally inclined French violinist Amandine Beyer. The Italian composer wrote more than 25 double violin concertos with string accompaniment, and they are especially rewarding both for the high quality of their material and for their frequently advanced virtuosity. While many of the extended passages for the solo protagonists progress in parallel thirds there are other highly original passages of great beauty: for instance, the opening movement of the B flat Concerto, RV 529, where a lyrical melody pursued by one soloist is accompanied by their partner’s restless arpeggios.

The musical chemistry between Carmignola and Beyer is intuitive and gratifying. Outer movements sparkle with playful vigour while centrally placed solo movements are poetically declaimed. Some of Vivaldi’s very finest writing for his own instrument, the violin, is found here, especially in the B flat Concerto and the D major RV 513 with its unusual and arresting unaccompanied opening fantasy for the soloists. Soloists and ripieno alike respond to this wonderful music with passion, insight and a feeling for the idiom that emerges as second nature. A Concerto in D minor, RV 127 for ripieno strings provides the icing on a delicious cake.

Listen to an excerpt of this recording here.

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Nicholas Anderson