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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Flute Concertos arranged for the recorder

Concerto in C minor RV 441
Concerto in C major RV 444
Concerto in F major RV 433 La Tempesta di Mare
Concerto in C major RV 443
Concerto in F major RV 434
Concerto in G minor RV 439 La Notte
Dan Laurin (recorder)
Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble
Recording 1991, Brilliant Classics


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There are precedents for playing these popular concertos on the recorder, which often shared the common name ‘flute’ with the traverso (or what we might now call a baroque flute) for which they were written. Indeed, this soloist and the Drottningholm players probably come closer to a ‘historically informed’ performance than the large string sections and Boehm flutes, usually heard until recently in these concertos. Nevertheless, the ‘cool’, penetrating sound and higher fundamental pitch of the recorder, even when so well-played, as it is on this record, is less responsive to subtle inflections than a traverso, especially in slow movements.

Dan Laurin easily establishes his virtuoso credentials in the first (C minor) concerto, but as the performance progresses its shortcomings appear: relentlessly fast tempi that occasionally find the ensemble at odds with the soloist and obscures some of the finer detail in these delightful works. The dominance of the solo line, even in ripieno passages, sacrifices some of Vivaldi’s masterly touches (in for example La Notte) for superficial brilliance.

It is, however, difficult not to admire the commitment and sheer ebullience of the players. Their sense of ease and enjoyment in the intricacies of Italian Baroque ornamentation alone makes this disc a desirable extra for anyone who already possesses a more authentic version. Full marks for chutzpah, and the example that Dan Laurin provides of the expressive potential of the recorder.

Roy Brewer

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