Vivaldi: Mandolin Concerto in C, RV425; Concerto for Two Mandolins in G, RV532; Lute Concerto in D, RV93,

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COMPOSERS: Vivaldi
LABELS: MusicMasters
WORKS: Mandolin Concerto in C, RV425; Concerto for Two Mandolins in G, RV532; Lute Concerto in D, RV93,
PERFORMER: Eliot Fisk (guitar), Albert Fuller (harpsichord), Frederic Hand (guitar), Louise Schulman (viola d’amore); Orchestra of St Luke’s, New York
CATALOGUE NO: 01612-67097-2 DDD (distr. Nimbus)
Eliot Fisk is an American guitarist of quite phenomenal technical ability, and this disc of concertos and sonatas by Vivaldi is notable for the virtuosity he brings to the solo parts. Most of the works Vivaldi wrote for either the lute or the mandolin are included and there is also a Bach harpsichord arrangement (BWV 972) of one of the violin concertos, attractively presented as a guitar duet. The performances are splendidly alive and fully in tune with the spirit of the music, if not the letter in terms of the instruments used. Fisk follows common 18th-century practice by embellishing the solo line with virtuoso flourishes and expressive decoration. Not all of it sounds ‘in period’ but the skill and spontaneous imagination with which it is done adds to the enjoyment considerably. The Largo of the well known Concerto in D, RV93, and the Andante of the Concerto for Two Mandolins, RV532, two of Vivaldi’s loveliest slow movements, are especially beautiful. Frederic Hand is an ideal partner for Fisk in the latter work and in the Bach arrangement, and Louise Schulman is characterful in the Concerto for Viola d’amore and Lute (RV540). Well recorded, and with agile accompaniment from the excellent Orchestra of St Luke’s, this is a very pleasing release. David Michaels

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