Six more of Vivaldi’s late violin concertos all receiving
their premier recordings following swiftly in the footsteps of two previous
Sony Classical recordings in this series, from Giuliano Carmignola and
the Venice Baroque Orchestra under the direction of Andrea Marcon (see
SK 51352 and SK 89362).
Baroque violin soloist Carmignola is a stylish player;
as stylish as the fine Romeo Gigli suits that he wears. Without any
hint of pretentiousness Professor Carmignola’s playing is classy and
sophisticated with an innate serious professionalism for this wonderful
music, as displayed this summer in a BBC Proms concert when he looked
around and glared when disturbed by noise from a member of the audience.
Some of the earlier interpretations of Vivaldi’s music
on period instruments came across as technically mechanical, rather
pale, even sterile and I would include Christopher Hogwood’s Academy
of Ancient Music and Trevor Pinnock with his English Concert amongst
the culprits. Recently period instrument performance has improved by
several notches as players have become more proficient and comfortable
with the special technical demands; freer now to demonstrate their individual
and collective style in excellent interpretations. Recent examples of
this interpretative pragmatism are Europa Galante with the lead violin
and direction of Fabio Biondi on Virgin Veritas. They play with an incredible
energy and with fire in their bellies. Cellist Roel Dieltiens who, with
his Ensemble Explorations (Harmonia Mundi), manages to fuse instrumental
richness with joyous enthusiasm is in the same league.
The collaboration of baroque violin soloist Carmignola,
the Venice Baroque Orchestra and director Andrea Marcon is perhaps marginally
the best of a very fine crop of period instrument performers. With this
third disc in the series they maintain their amazingly high standard
which just oozes class. I am not aware just how many more violin concertos
from Vivaldi’s pen remain unrecorded, however as long as future premier
recordings from this ensemble continue to be as pleasurable as this
then the more the merrier.
This is an indispensable recording of top quality yet
unfamiliar Vivaldi violin concertos combined with stunning performances
and a warm natural acoustic.