The Four Seasons
Alexandra Conunova (violin); ad hoc ensemble of 12 string players; Paolo Corsi (harpsichord)
Aparté AP 242 37:09 mins
Nicolas Bartholomée’s Aparté label has built up an impressive track record over the last ten years, not least for its outstanding 2018 release of Prokofiev’s violin and piano sonatas with Alexandra Conunova and Michail Lifits. The acclaimed Moldavian violinist returns here with a particularly personal response to the trials of 2020. Overwhelmed with messages of appreciation during lockdown for an earlier recording of The Four Seasons on YouTube, Conunova promptly gathered a group of friends to record the piece anew as a ‘symbol of survival’. The result is this imaginative account of Vivaldi’s masterpiece which bursts with vitality.
Conunova can conjure a sublimely gorgeous tone, but is also adventurous in her use of timbre without ever seeming affected. Spring especially shimmers with surprises, while Conunova brings a wonderfully dangerous edge to the opening movement of Winter. Toying with her tuning to create an otherworldly feel, Conunova here veers between fragility and vigour in the blink of an eye to powerful effect.
Ensemble is admirably tight and there is a wonderful sense of conviviality from the band throughout. As Conunova writes in the liner notes, the recording was conceived as a ‘celebration’ amid testing times, and this sense of exuberance and energy rings across the disc’s every track.