Vivaldi: Concertos, RV 572, 454, 566, 539, 413, 107, 439 & 540

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

WORKS: Concertos, RV 572, 454, 566, 539, 413, 107, 439 & 540
PERFORMER: Soloists; Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Vivaldi’s gift as a writer of concertos enabled him to mix an extraordinary variety of instruments – on this disc alone are various combinations of flute, oboe, violin, cello, harpsichord, bassoon, recorder, horn, lute and viola d’amore. A colourful selection, then, which receives some rather monochrome playing by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. The opening multiple concerto in F major, for instance, may not be Vivaldi at his most inspired, but the OAE’s strait-laced playing does nothing to lift the music out of the ordinary. Even a more passionate piece like the Oboe Concerto, RV 454, draws a very restrained performance, with Vivaldi’s intense minor key writing and dramatic musical contrasts too politely underplayed. Here – as elsewhere on the recording – the orchestra seems to be in need of more daring, characterful direction. There are, nonetheless, some fine individual contributions – notably David Watkin’s affectingly lyrical account of the Cello Concerto, RV 413, and Lisa Beznosiuk’s admirable flute playing in La notte, RV 439. Kate Bolton