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Nicola Benedetti: Italia
Nicola Benedetti’s debut album on the Decca label is her first recording of baroque violin repertoire Recorded in Edinburgh, the album celebrates Nicola Benedetti’s Scottish-Italian heritage as she plays virtuoso Italian masterpieces, accompanied by the leading chamber orchestra of her native country.
The album highlights baroque favourites including Summer from Vivaldi’s ever-popular Four Seasons and Tartini’s famous Devil’s Trill sonata, for which Nicola is joined by a hand-picked chamber ensemble.
The generous selection ranges from the sparkling virtuosity of the opening Vivaldi Concerto Grosso Mogul, to the poignant lament of the Veracini Largo and the lyrical beauty of the two arrangements of Vivaldi vocal works, including the haunting Nulla in mundo pax sincera.
The orchestra is directed from the harpsichord by leading baroque specialist Christian Curnyn.
“a lively celebration of Benedetti's Italian roots, shot through with some laser-sharp pyrotechnics, and brave work-in-progress as she squares up to period style with a modern instrument...Benedetti's 'Baroque' occasionally sounds like 'Kreisler with attitude'; the accent may not be pitch-perfect, but for sheer flair: Viva Italia!” BBC Music Magazine, October 2011 ****
“This is the best recording of Vivaldi's 'Summer' I've heard...at precisely 2.19 Benedetti performs a trill in which she only partially depresses the string, allowing a rainbow of stratospheric harmonics to colour the trill...Great recordings are made of tiny moments of unexpected brilliance like this” Classic FM Magazine, 2010 edition *****
“With a Baroque-type bow, using very little vibrato (but with modern strings), she produces a sound that, for the most part, is cool and clear but by no means inexpressive. The SCO match her elegant phrasing and provide an accompaniment that's alert, spirited and sensitive. It conveys a brightly polished image of the music, most enjoyable, and bringing a virtuoso aspect to the fore.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011
“The most blissful performances here are the pair of Vivaldi arias transcribed for violin to take the vocal lines, which are elegant. Elsewhere, Veracini's "Largo" is treated with calm passion” The Independent, 7th October 2011 ***
“She hasn’t plunged into the field on a whim. She took lessons from Rachel Podger, the goddess of the Baroque violin. For colleagues she cross-fertilised, mixing the period specialist conductor Christian Curnyn with the bouncy non-specialist Scottish Chamber Orchestra. She also chose her repertory cannily...Throughout the disc Benedetti’s playing marries incisive Baroque attack with fuzzier romantic colouring.” The Times, 30th September 2011 ***
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Vivaldi - Violin Concertos
“Mullova teams up with one of the most sparkling of the baroque bands around.” BBC Music Magazine, Proms 2007
“Viktoria Mullova isn't quite a Baroque violinist – her Strad is fitted with gut strings, she's using a Baroque bow and she plays very stylishly – but there's something about her sound that betrays the modern virtuoso. Her vibrato is modest but it's used in a way that harks back to her conventional Russian training. Much more important than rating her on a scale of authenticity, however, is to note that it's top-class violin playing: the rhythms are lively and poised, all the passagework is beautifully clear and exact.
The programme is excellent, too, in the way it shows the wide range of Vivaldi's imagination.
The rarely encountered RV187 is a lovely piece, full of delightful original touches, in contrast to the better known Grosso Mogul which, despite its brilliance and its satisfying formal design, is oppressively short of significant ideas.
Il Giardino Armonico provide an immensely spirited accompaniment, four members taking the extra solo roles in Op 3 No 10 with great style. Vivaldi's music needs strong contrasts in performance; it should create a sense of amazement, which these accounts supply in a striking and convincing way. The prevalence of ferocious accents, ultra-short off-the-string bowing, and exaggerated dynamic shading is a little troubling: the strongest, swiftest bow stroke should retain the character of a gesture, rather than a hammer blow. But whether or not you agree, you're likely to enjoy the vigour, colourful variety and sheer expertise of these performances.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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Vivaldi: A Tale of Two Seasons
Concertos & Arias
Adrian Chandler (violin, director) & Sally Bruce-Payne (mezzo-soprano)
Adrian Chandler and La Serenissima, with virtuoso soloist mezzo-soprano Sally Bruce-Payne, continue their enlightening exploration of the music of Vivaldi focusing on two contrasting eras of the composer’s Venetian operatic career. Vivaldi specialists Adrian Chandler’s and La Serenissima’s hallmark qualities of erudition combined with crowd-pleasing performances have made them one of the best-selling and acclaimed period-instrument bands performing today. Recently their Gramophone Award winning album Vivaldi: The French Connection (AV2178) topped a Forbes list of How to Build a Top Quality Classical Music Library. Their last release, Venice by Night (AV2257) made the Top Ten of the UK Specialist Classical Chart. Their 11th release for Avie, Vivaldi: A Tale of Two Seasons once again presents the Red Priest in an engaging and fascinating light. Focusing on two Venetian operatic seasons of 1717 and 1733, the enlightening program juxtaposes the work of an eager young man with that of an older, more cunning composer who had adapted his music to that of the fashionable Neapolitan style.
Scheduled for release on 15 July 2013. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.
Vivaldi: Six Concertos
arrangements for organ by J S Bach and Gunther Rost
In this recording, Gunther Rost brings the organ, usually associated with a forceful sound, complex polyphony and musical weight, into other spheres: he performs some of J S Bach’s organ transcriptions of Vivaldi’s instrumental concertos as well as his own transcriptions. He performs on an organ which is highly authentic for interpreting Bach’s works, the Hildebrandt organ in St. Wenzel’s in Naumberg.
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Vivaldi - The Great Concertos
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Paul Dyer
“This was definitely one of the top discs this month. The ABO always gets good reviews in these
pages, which reflects the consistently high levels of performance. Here they showcase the talents of
several of their players…in the company of some top performers (Libby Wallfisch is stunning in Il
grosso mogul). The CD also includes something of a novelty – a re-working by one of the ABO’s
cellists of Vivaldi’s concerto for two violins as a concerto for violin and cello…Another triumph for
Paul Dyer and his team.” Brian Clark, Early Music Review
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Vivaldi - Violin Concertos Volume 1
Academia Montis Regalis, Enrico Onofri (violin and direction)
“Enrico Onofri is a player of dazzling virtuosity, whose intonation seldom falters and whose imaginative responses to some of Vivaldi's most poetic utterances thrilled and touched me.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2006 ****
“Enrico Onofri writes that 'when subjected to a profound, subtle and precise reading of the rhetorical formulas that compose them, [Vivaldi's] concertos stand revealed as extremely impassioned works, by turns gently melancholic, impetuous, ironic, dramatic, caricatural, introspective, voluptuous, violent, tender, graceful.' All these characteristics are depicted in Onofri's intensely rhetorical playing. Occasionally he likes to introduce mischievous (perhaps even anarchic) elements into Academia Montis Regalis's performances, as if to insist that we must not regard this music as mere fashionable wallpaper music. The relentlessly tempestuous Concerto RV234, L'inquietudine, is not stuff that corporations will use for holding callers on the telephone.
Onofri's rapid flourishes in the extensive cadenza that concludes the Grosso Mogul Concerto, RV208, are not only phenomenal from a technical point of view but delivered in such a convincing way that every single note seems to matter. Amid the thwacks and snaps in fast tuttis one wonders if elegance might be an authentic Vivaldian characteristic in danger of becoming overlooked, although there is much more to these performances than shock tactics. Among the finest elements of this kaleidoscopic disc are the quieter slower movements: eloquence, grief, tranquillity and desire all seem to be worn on Onofri's sleeve. The Adagio in Concerto RV270, Il riposo, is breathtakingly beautiful; La caccia is unusually provocative, rewarding and frequently amazing.
Academia Montis Regalis present Vivaldi's concertos as totally compelling and meaningful music that demands full attention and respect.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“Onofri's rapid flourishes in the extensive cadenza that concludes the Grosso Mogul Concerto, RV208, are not only phenomenal from a technical point of view but delivered in such a convincing way that every single note seems to matter. Among the finest elements of this kaleidoscopic disc are the quieter slower movements: eloquence, grief, tranquillity and desire all seem to be worn on Onofri's sleeve. The Adagio in Concerto RV270, Il riposo, is breathtakingly beautiful; La caccia is unusually provocative, rewarding and frequently amazing.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2006
(also available to download from $10.75)
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Vivaldi - Violin Concertos & String Symphonies Volume 1
Concerto for Violin "Il Grosso Mogul" in D major RV 208
Concerto, Op. 3 No. 6 'Con Violino Solo obligato', RV 356
Concerto in C major, RV 186
Violin Concerto in E major, RV271 'L'Amoroso'
Concerto in C Major, RV 171
Concerto, Op. 3 No. 9 'Con Violino Solo obligati', RV 230
Concerto, Op. 3 No. 3 'Con Violino Solo obligato', RV 310
Concerto for violin, strings & continuo in Eb, RV254
Violin Concerto in C minor, RV199 'Il Sospetto'
Violin Concerto, Op. 4 No. 8 in D minor, RV 249
Violin Concerto RV 232 in D major
Concerto, Op. 3 No. 12 'Con Violino Solo obligato', RV 265
Concerto for strings No. 5, RV 114
Concerto for strings in E minor, RV 134
Concerto for strings No. 2, RV 133
Concerto for strings No. 10, RV 121
Concerto for strings No. 4, RV 136
Concerto for strings No. 8, RV 127
Concerto for strings No. 3, RV 119
Concerto for strings No. 9, RV 164
Concerto for strings No. 11, RV 150
Concerto for strings No. 12, RV 159
Concerto for strings No. 7, RV 160
Violin Concerto in E flat major, RV 260
Concerto in D minor, RV 237
Violin concerto in D major RV 582
Violin Concerto in D major, RV 213
Violin Concerto in D major, RV 228
Concerto in A major, RV 340
Concerto in G minor, RV 328
Concerto in D major, RV 205
Concerto RV 319 for violin, 2 oboes & bassoon
Concerto in C major, RV 172
Concerto for violin, strings & continuo in Bb, RV370
Concerto In G Minor RV 302
Vivaldi’s creative genius was not on a level with that of Bach, Mozart or Strauss, but it was considerable all the same. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians calls him "the most original and influential Italian composer of his generation" and continues: "He laid the foundations for the mature Baroque concerto. His contributions to musical style, violin technique and the practice of orchestration were substantial, and he was a pioneer of orchestral program music."
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