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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Concertos for Flute
Concerto in D op. 10/3 "Il Gardellino" RV 428 [9:53]
Concerto in a minor RV 440 [9:56]
Concerto in F op. 10/1 "La Tempesta di Mare" RV 443 [6:45]
Concerto in c minor, RV 441 [11:12]
Concerto in g minor, op. 10/2 "La notte" RV 439 [9:46]
Concerto in G RV 426 [8:47]
Peter-Lukas Graf, flute
The Württemberg-Heilbronn Chamber Orchestra
Jörg Faerber, conductor
Recorded at Kreutzkirche, Heilbronn, June 1988. (Reissued 2000)
Claves CD 50-8807 [56:30]
CD available for post-free online mail-order or you may download individual tracks. For some labels you can download the entire CD with a single click and make HUGE savings. The price you see is the price you pay! The full booklet notes are available on-line.

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Cynics may quip that Vivaldi wrote one concerto and copied it several hundred times, but serious listening to a collection of his works will reveal an amazing variety of ideas and colors, each work showing that the prolific composer was not short on originality. The prolificacy was born out of sheer necessity of course, as Vivaldi was charged with the education of quite a horde of orphaned girls whom he tutored at the Ospedale della Pieta in Venice. The craft and virtuosity of these many concerti is testament to the quality of education that the "Red Priest" provided.

Regrettably, classical radio has relegated the instrumental works of Vivaldi and his colleagues to the realm of musical wallpaper. We have become so accustomed to hearing baroque concerti played ad nauseum for "driving home" fare, that we have been conditioned to forget to actually listen to this music. This is a shame, as these works, and hundreds like them, contain some splendid invention; the slow movements are often as passionate as any work from the romantic era.

This recital of flute concerti is taken entirely from opus 10, and three have descriptive titles. "Il Gardellino" (the goldfinch) earns its nickname from the birdsong-like runs and trills of its opening movement. (Track 1, in its entirety) Note the composer’s ingenious way of taking the birdsong and adapting it into the idiomatic solo writing of the time. Peter-Lukas Graf, playing a modern instrument, tosses off a joyous and elegant performance. "La tempesta di mare" (storm at sea) is supposed to depict the rolling and tossing of the ocean. The music itself is not to blame, but from this performance, we are watching a mild depression, not a squall. The tempi are too stodgy and the string playing is too thick and heavy to give us much of an impression of anything stormy (Track 7, in its entirety). The occasional flawed unison in the orchestra hampers things a bit as well. The third named concerto, "Il notte" (night) depicts nocturnal activities and a few things that go bump. Of particular note here is track 17, "Il sonno" (sleep). The music is achingly beautiful with its series of static somewhat dissonant chords and dreamy solo flute melody.

On the whole there is nothing about this performance about which one can either rip or rave. It is not bereft of charming moments, and Graf’s flute solos are elegant and competent. Alas, stiff playing from the orchestra, a somewhat monotonous lack of articulation and forward motion and generally non-committal playing hamper the overall affect of the music. That this music has become over-recorded in recent years doesn’t help this disc much, given that there are so many other choices that are more exciting, from Rampal to any number of Baroque specialty orchestras that clutter major music centers.

Cover art is attractive, notes are perfunctory, and the recorded sound is adequate with a nice bloom to the sound. If you get this disc as a gift, keep it and enjoy it, but it is not one that should go anyone’s must-buy-today list.

 

Kevin Sutton

 


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FREE SOUND SAMPLES
(minimum 30 secs)

CDTnº1 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in D major Op.10/3 'Il Gardellino' RV 428
CDTnº2 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in D major Op.10/3 'Il Gardellino' RV 428
CDTnº3 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in D major Op.10/3 'Il Gardellino' RV 428
CDTnº4 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in A major RV 440
CDTnº5 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in A major RV 440
CDTnº6 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in A major RV 440
CDTnº7 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in F major Op.10/1 RV 433
CDTnº8 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in F major Op.10/1 RV 433
CDTnº9 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in F major Op.10/1 RV 433
CDTnº10 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in C minor RV 441
CDTnº11 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in C minor RV 441
CDTnº12 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in C minor RV 441
CDTnº13 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in G minor Op.10/2 RV 439
CDTnº14 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in G minor Op.10/2 RV 439
CDTnº15 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in G minor Op.10/2 RV 439
CDTnº16 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in G minor Op.10/2 RV 439
CDTnº17 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in G minor Op.10/2 RV 439
CDTnº18 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in G minor Op.10/2 RV 439
CDTnº19 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in G major RV 436
CDTnº20 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in G major RV 436
CDTnº21 - A. VIVALDI
Concerto in G major RV 436



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