Vivaldi: Concertos, RV 461, 484, 535, 537, 538, 545 & 557

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

LABELS: Astrée Auvidis Naïve
WORKS: Concertos, RV 461, 484, 535, 537, 538, 545 & 557
PERFORMER: Zefiro/Alfredo Bernardini
Ensemble Zefiro is one of Italy’s most invigorating mixed instrumental chamber groups. Following enthusiastically received recordings of Zelenka’s trios for oboes and bassoon, and divertimenti/serenades by Mozart, the players have turned their attention to their Venetian Baroque compatriot, Vivaldi. Their programme has been discerningly chosen to show off the multiplicity of colours, rhythms and ingenuous melodic ideas that have given the composer the affectionate reputation that he certainly deserves. If a Concerto in A minor for oboe and strings (RV 461), and another, in E minor for bassoon (RV 484), take pride of place in this sequence of seven works then perhaps it is because Alfredo Bernardini (oboe), who also directs the Ensemble, and Alberto Grazzi (bassoon) are two of the most communicative soloists in a notably imaginative and technically accomplished line-up. But these two concertos are also fine examples of Vivaldi’s originality in the medium. The Oboe Concerto has a lyrically sustained slow movement of sustained beauty, while the solos of the Bassoon Concerto’s first movement are splendidly varied, the third of them having a beguilingly expressive delicacy. The remaining five concertos on the disc include one for two horns, with a melancholy slow movement for cello solo, the Concerto for Oboe and Bassoon, one in D minor for two oboes, the Concerto for Two Trumpets, and one for violins, oboes, bassoon and strings, with a pair of recorders in its slow movement. An enthralling disc. Nicholas Anderson