Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Antonio VIVALDI (1678 - 1741)
"The Ultimate Four Seasons - Vivaldi’s Greatest Hit"

Il Cimento dell’Armonia e dell’Invenzione, Op 8 (1725)
Concerti for Violin and Strings # 1, ‘Spring’ R. 269
#2, ‘Summer’ R 315
#3, ‘Autumn’ R 293
#4, ‘Winter’ R 297
Vladimir Spivakov, violin, and conducting the Moscow Virtuosi;
Gottfried van der Goltz, Freiberger Barockorchester; with The Harp Consort
Amsterdam Guitar Trio;
Michaela Petri, recorder, and the Guildhall String Ensemble;
Kazuhuto Yamashita and Larry Coryell, guitars;
James Galway, flute, and the Zagreb Soloists;
Tracy Scott Silverman,violin and keyboards, and Thea Suits-Silverman, flute;
Ransom Wilson and the Modern Mandolin Quartet.
Various recording sites and dates
Notes, including translations of the superscriptions, in English only.
BMG RCA RED SEAL 09026 64015 2 [77.31]


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Probably very few music lovers have ever put on a couple of recordings of the Four Seasons and hit the scramble button on their CD player, but, after all the times we’ve heard this music, it could happen, and you’d get something of the effect here. In addition to a straight through reading of the movements in order by one or the other of the performers in seemingly random order, we have an additional 11 performances of just one movement of a concerto by itself by one of the performing groups. In no case are all three movements of a single concerto performed on the disk by the same artists.

Some of the individual performances are quite good, and the most likely result of hearing and enjoying this disk might be that you would seek out one or more of the complete performances on disk.

As might be expected, Spivakov and von der Goltz present traditional performances. Galway and Petri play traditionally with just a switch of the solo instrument. These are perfectly acceptable in a traditional sense. The single movement contribution by the Silvermans is synthesised and modernised all out of shape; nothing of value here. The Amsterdam Guitar Trio, having previously reecorded an excellent set of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti, are very disappointing here. Yamashita/Coryell are the most enjoyable and creative of the arrangements, but as artists their individual styles and backgrounds are so different that it is not surprising that occasionally something clashes; however they do a nice job on Winter II. Wilson and the mandolins are excellent in their single movement contribution of Winter I. Goltz’ best appearance is also in Winter I where the harp group serves as a very aggressive continuo. The experience of this listening has made me want to hear the Galway and Petri versions straight through, but maybe not enough to actually pay for them. The Spivakov and Goltz versions are revealed as worthy but not spectacular traditional versions also. Nothing I have heard changes my view that the best Seasons ever was performed by Jan Tomasow and I Solisti di Zagreb and beautifully recorded by Vanguard at the very beginning of the stereo era.

If you have almost every other version of the Seasons, you’ll want this one, too. If money and space are no obstacle, it might be worth having this disk just for tracks 10, 19, 22, with 5 as a shocker.

Paul Shoemaker

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