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

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

WORKS: Concertos, RV 572, 454, 566, 539, 413, 107, 439, 540
PERFORMER: 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 regrettably receives some rather monochrome playing by the OAE. 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 suffers from a lack-lustre 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. This is the more regrettable in that there are 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. There are some outstanding Vivaldi discs currently available and by the side of them this one will hardly set your pulses racing. Kate Bolton