Vivaldi: Flute Concerto, RV 312; Flute Concerto RV 428; Flute Concerto RV 433 (La tempesta di mare); Flute Concerto RV 439 (La notte); Flute Concerto RV 441; Flute Concerto RV 443

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COMPOSERS: Vivaldi
LABELS: Opus 111
WORKS: Flute Concerto, RV 312; Flute Concerto RV 428; Flute Concerto RV 433 (La tempesta di mare); Flute Concerto RV 439 (La notte); Flute Concerto RV 441; Flute Concerto RV 443
PERFORMER: Sébastien Marq (recorders); Ensemble Matheus/Jean-Christophe Spinosi
CATALOGUE NO: OP 30371
Cashing in on the rapidly growing popularity of the transverse flute, Vivaldi published his six Concertos, Op. 10, in about 1728. Five of them, in fact, are arrangements of earlier chamber concertos in which either flute or recorder featured. Three of these furthermore had programmatic titles but, though they are included in this new release in their later Op. 10 clothes they are performed on a treble recorder rather than a flute. The fourth piece for treble recorder is the fine C minor Concerto which calls for greater technical virtuosity, while the two remaining works are for the sopranino. Three concertos by Vivaldi for this smallest member of the family are well known, but a fourth has been reconstructed by Jean Cassignol from a Violin Concerto (RV 312) which Vivaldi may originally have intended for recorder.

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Soloist Sébastien Marq plays with virtuosity and expressive finesse and he is imaginatively supported by Ensemble Matheus, a group which has already proved itself capable of vital responses to Vivaldi’s music elsewhere. There is much to enjoy both in the playing and the repertoire which, though at times superficially glib, nevertheless reveals plenty of substance on closer acquaintance. There is a single alternative version of the reconstructed Concerto, played by Dorothee Oberlinger (Marc Aurel), and released quite recently (reviewed in November). There is not much to choose between the two, though Oberlinger’s programme, which shares two further concertos in common with the present release, is marginally more satisfying. A warm welcome, nonetheless, to the newcomer. Nicholas Anderson