Vivaldi: Flute Concerto, RV 428 (Il gardellino); Flute Concerto RV 433 (La tempesta di mare); Flute Concerto RV 439 (La notte); Cello Concerto, RV 401; Cello Concerto, RV 424

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COMPOSERS: Vivaldi
LABELS: Ambroisie
WORKS: Flute Concerto, RV 428 (Il gardellino); Flute Concerto RV 433 (La tempesta di mare); Flute Concerto RV 439 (La notte); Cello Concerto, RV 401; Cello Concerto, RV 424
PERFORMER: Héloïse Gaillard (recorder), Ophélie Gaillard (cello); Amarillis
CATALOGUE NO: AMB 9944
Amarillis, a recorder-cello-keyboard trio, adds strings and expanded continuo for this inventive programme of concertos for recorder and for cello. The musicians play with infectious energy, though it’s elegant rather than manic – the opening of RV 444 is nicely poised. They’re rhythmically subtle: they lift the spirit with a hypnotic sewing-machine pulse, but then teasingly release the tension with contemplative moments in the solo episodes. The continuo support is extravagantly coloured with harpsichord/organ and archlute/Baroque guitar and, although strings are one-to-a-part, they too range from biting articulation (at times a touch acidic), to playful pizzicato below the solo recorder. The minor-key cello concertos create a powerful, sombre contrast. Three of the concertos are from Vivaldi’s Op. 10 set, actually for flute though derived from chamber concertos with recorder. Amarillis raises huge, terrifying seas in La tempesta di mare, while Héloïse Gaillard’s alto recorder creates spine-chilling night-time ghosts and her sopranino makes a most convincing Goldfinch – Il gardellino. This instrument was specially made for her, full of tonal character but too easily drooping in pitch. It’s splendidly bright in loud allegros but there are moments, the slow movement of RV 428 for instance, which are uncomfortably flat. The best, though, is thrilling – fast, virtuosic and exuberantly decorated. George Pratt

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