ALBUM TITLE: Vivaldi Concerti
WORKS: Concerti per vari strumenti, RV 454, 497, 534, 548, 559, 560 & 566
PERFORMER: Soloists; Orchestra Barocca Zefiro/Alfredo Bernardini (oboe)
CATALOGUE NO: OP 30409
A splendid account of seven concertos in coruscating colours including wind. Most spectacular is RV566 for pairs of violins, recorders, oboes and bassoon – a kaleidoscope of timbral variety and breathtaking verve. Zefiro have boundless energy in its fast movements and a fine sense of musical rhetoric as they hold up the pulse to reflect a momentary contrast in mood. Equally striking is their care for detail in the slow movement, two recorders floating effortlessly over bassoon and archlute.
Alfredo Bernardini’s oboe is an original instrument from 1730, preserved not least because it is made of durable African hardwood. While museum curators might question playing it rather than preserving it as a permanent source of measurements for copying, it’s a privilege to encounter its warm and fruity tone.
Zefiro’s mutual sensitivity is strikingly evident – the duet of oboe and violin in the familiar double concerto RV548, for instance, shows a remarkable marriage of minds. My only reservation lies in the close recording – the performers’ perspective – sometimes hardening tone. Otherwise, riveting. George Pratt