Vivaldi: Concertos for strings; Concertos for viola d’amore

Alessandro Tampieri; Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone (Naive)

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Vivaldi Concertos for strings; Concertos for viola d’amore
Alessandro Tampieri (viola d’amore); Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone
Naive OP30570 114:00 mins (2 discs)

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This new issue in the Vivaldi Edition features 13 concertos for strings without soloist and five of Vivaldi’s six concertos for viola d’amore and strings. Vivaldi wrote at least 44 concerti a quattro for four-part strings. Several resemble the composer’s opera sinfonias, and some of the movements, at least, served in a dual capacity. They are unfailingly attractive, sparkling with vitality in their outer movements and expressively alluring in their cantabile central ones. Several are stylistically forward-looking, among them the F major Concerto, RV142 and the G major piece, RV145. Just occasionally a solo violin emerges from the string texture as in the Concertos RV167 and RV155 which, exceptionally, is cast in four movements rather than the customary three. Among the most captivating pieces in the programme is the playful Andante of RV165.

Vivaldi wrote six concertos for viola d’amore and strings, of which five are included here. The instrument for which he wrote had six bowed strings and six underlying sympathetic strings. At least two of the pieces, RV393 and RV397, were almost certainly intended for Anna Maria, one of the outstandingly gifted musicians of the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice. They are appealing works with notably expressive slow movements. Alessandro Tampieri is a fine player with all the requisite sensibility to make the most of this gently alluring instrument. Perhaps the cadenza in the finale of RV394 was too extended but it is a small price to pay for playing of this order. Ottavio Dantone and Accademia Bizantina are on scintillating form throughout, and the recorded sound is excellent.

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Nicholas Anderson