Vivaldi: Violin Concertos, RV 229, 248, 260, 267, 349 & 363

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COMPOSERS: Vivaldi
LABELS: Philips
WORKS: Violin Concertos, RV 229, 248, 260, 267, 349 & 363
PERFORMER: Mariana Sirbu (violin); I Musici
CATALOGUE NO: 454 459-2
With the number of Vivaldi concerto recordings flooding the market, what is a starter CD-buyer to do? How can he or she make a choice? Perhaps if a reviewer has any function at all, it is to steer the prospective purchaser in the right direction. If you like period instruments, the new disc with Giorgio Sasso might be a candidate for an ideal one-CD Vivaldi choice. The Roman group plays brilliantly, and the selection of works for string orchestra is superb, with two emotional pieces, a Sinfonia in G minor and a Sonata in E flat, Al S Sepulchro (At Christ’s Tomb/Burial).

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The other disc, on modern instruments (but very crisply played), is a series of six works composed for Vivaldi’s star pupil at the Pietà, Anna Maria, who performed on violin, viola d’amore, cello, lute, theorbo, mandolin and harpsichord. These are delightful violin concertos, admirably played by Mariana Sirbu and I Musici, one of the pioneers of the Vivaldi revival. HC Robbins Landon