Vivaldi: Recorder Concerto in C, RV 443; Recorder Concerto in A minor, RV 445; Recorder Concerto in C, RV 444; Recorder Concerto in F, RV 442; Recorder Concerto in C minor, RV 441; Concerto in D, RV 95 (La pastorella)

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COMPOSERS: Vivaldi
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Recorder Concerto in C, RV 443; Recorder Concerto in A minor, RV 445; Recorder Concerto in C, RV 444; Recorder Concerto in F, RV 442; Recorder Concerto in C minor, RV 441; Concerto in D, RV 95 (La pastorella)
PERFORMER: László Kecskeméti, László Czidra (recorder), Béla Horváth (oboe), István Hartenstein (bassoon), György Éder (cello), Borbála Dobozy (harpsichord); Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia/Tamás Zalay (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.553829
Vivaldi’s concertos for recorder and strings fall into two groups. One consisting of three works is for a high pitched flautino, approximating the smallest member of the recorder family. The other, consisting of two concertos, contains pieces for the treble recorder. The sixth item belongs to a different category altogether. La pastorella is one of the composer’s 20 or more chamber concertos for single instruments in varied combinations of woodwind and strings. Inasmuch as all the solo episodes are assigned to the recorder, the work’s presence in this context is not misplaced. Indeed, such are its evergreen properties that I should be pleased to find it in any context, for it never fails to delight my senses and is one of the strongest, most dependable antidepressants on the market. The performances are mainly enjoyable, with clearly articulated, often virtuoso playing from László Kecskeméti. He takes a conservative approach, with leisurely tempi and pleasing ornamentation, but otherwise lacks the sportive flights of fancy and extravagant capers indulged in by some of his rivals. Only in the F major Concerto for treble recorder (RV 442), which Vivaldi later reassigned to the flute, and included in his famous set of six, Op. 10, does Kecskeméti stand down for fellow virtuoso László Czidra. His performance, though, is old-fashioned and burdened with excessive vibrato. The non-period Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia provides worthy support, though the finale of the C minor Concerto (RV 441) is scrawny and lacklustre. Nicholas Anderson

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