Vivaldi – Il Mondo al rovescio
Gli incogniti/Amandine Beyer (violin) (Harmonia Mundi)
Il Mondo al rovescio: Concertos RV 344, 432, 536, 556, 562, 571, 572 & 576
Gli incogniti/Amandine Beyer (violin)
Harmonia Mundi HMM902688 72:23 mins
Antonio Vivaldi is prominent among composers whose music has been greatly invigorated through historical performance. Harmonia Mundi has been closely involved with this invigoration since the 1970s. Il Mondo al rovescio marks French ensemble Gli Incogniti’s eighth album for the label since 2014, and the third devoted exclusively to the music of Vivaldi. Directed from the violin by Amandine Beyer, Gli Incogniti presents eight concertos spanning the breadth of Vivaldi’s contributions to the genre. Their interpretations amply demonstrate the composer’s flair for individual instrumental timbres and varied ensemble sonorities. Beyer shines throughout, particularly as soloist in the welcome recording of the lesser-known RV 344, and with oboist Neven Lesage in RV 576. Of the two concertos ‘per la Solennità di S Lorenzo’, RV 562 is majestic and dramatic, enhanced by Beyer’s stylish embellishments. In RV 572, from which the album takes its name, we relish Vivaldi’s innovative instrumental doublings.
The sleeve notes incline towards indulgence and would benefit from more assiduous research, particularly in the light of the ensemble’s claim to be ‘among the top reference groups for historical performance’. For example, RV 556 was more likely composed c1715, thus pre-dating the other concerted works with clarinet, but is not actually the earliest known work to include that instrument.
With gratifying plucked string continuo sonorities, sprightly allegro movements and crisp articulation, Gli Incogniti’s interpretations can easily take their place alongside the likes of Tafelmusik, the Academy of Ancient Music and Europa Galante.