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Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Late Violin Concertos (Concertos for Violin, Strings and Basso Continuo)
Concerto in B minor RV 386 [11:50]
Concerto in D minor RV 235 [11:27]
Concerto in F major RV 296 [13:11]
Concerto in E-flat major RV 258 [12:32]
Concerto in B minor RV 389 [11:52]
Concerto in E-flat major RV 251 [10:55]
Giuliano Carmignola: baroque violin
Venice Baroque Orchestra/Andrea Marcon and harpsichord
Recorded 21-24 May 2002 at L’Abbazio di Rosazzo, Manzano (Udine), Italy DDD
Premier Recordings
SONY CLASSICAL SK 87733 [71:48]
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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.

Michael Cookson


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