Vivaldi: Bassoon Concerto in C, RV474; Bassoon Concerto in F, RV489; Bassoon Concerto in A minor, RV498; Concerto for multiple instruments in F, RV571; Concerto for multiple instruments in G minor, RV576; Concerto for multiple instruments in G minor, RV57

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Vivaldi
LABELS: L’OISEAU-LYRE
WORKS: Bassoon Concerto in C, RV474; Bassoon Concerto in F, RV489; Bassoon Concerto in A minor, RV498; Concerto for multiple instruments in F, RV571; Concerto for multiple instruments in G minor, RV576; Concerto for multiple instruments in G minor, RV577
PERFORMER: Danny Bond (bassoon)Academy of Ancient Music/ Christopher Hogwood
CATALOGUE NO: 436 867-2 DDD
Two discs could not more thoroughly discredit Stravinsky’s mindless remark about Vivaldi: ‘a dull fellow who could compose the same form over… and over’. Every one of these 36 movements reveals some novelty to surprise and delight. I Musici’s violin selection includes a double orchestra, muted strings without harpsichord, and vivid portrayals of ‘Sleep’, ‘Suspicion’ and ‘Anxiety’. Hogwood’s choice is more colourful still, from solo bassoon and strings – three of 39 extant concertos for this charming grandfather of the wind – to a brilliant palette of virtuoso violin and oboes, dazzling horns, cello, bassoon and strings, enriched with a varied continuo – archlute and organ as well as harpsichord.

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I Musici and Sirbu are finely matched – she has led this conductorless ensemble since 1992. Her playing is technically immaculate, including a flashing cadenza in the double-orchestra concerto. The recorded sound, though, is rather brittle and intense –as is the spirit of their playing. Their exuberance is far from effortless.

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For Hogwood, recording quality is softer-edged, reflecting the warmth and transparency of period instruments. He makes points all the more effectively by understating them, subtly shaping phrases and dynamics to create a fine sense of direction. George Pratt