ALBUM TITLE: Vivaldi
WORKS: Concerti & Sinfonie per archi
PERFORMER: Venice Baroque Orch/Andrea Marcon
CATALOGUE NO: 474 5092
There are 12 three-movement pieces here – the longest just over seven, the shortest three-and-a-half minutes long. So there’s little time for preamble or cliché, and it’s remarkable how Vivaldi manages to capture a mood immediately, sustain it for its natural life, then finish. And without a soloist, the spotlight is completely on the orchestra, which is lithe, colourful, virtuosic, hits the ground running, and can turn on a dime with complete unanimity. These are all qualities which have made their previous CDs so satisfying: the sweetness of the strings in the slow movements; the imaginative continuo playing, especially from the lute; the alert phrasing and use of dynamics; and the rhythmic tightness. That’s especially striking when Vivaldi consciously imitates the French style in the C major Concerto, RV 114, where the dotted rhythms of the first movement snap into place with military precision.
Sometimes, mostly in the minor key works, final cadences are lingered over too much – the time taken is out of proportion with the overall scale of the music. But that’s a small quibble: the enjoyment emanating from the players is palpable, and why this brightly-recorded disc has waited three years to be issued is a complete mystery. Martin Cotton