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Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Rare Opera Overtures

Bajazet, Sinfonia in F major RV703
L’Olimpiade, Sinfonia in C major RV725
La Verita’ in Cimento, Sinfonia in G major RV739
Violin Concerto in C minor Amato Bene RV761 *
Ottone in Villa, Sinfonia in C major RV729
Concerto in F major RV571 #
La Dorilla, Sinfonia in C major RV709
Farnace, Sinfonia in C major RV711
Sinfonia in G major RV149
Concerto in D minor RV128
Il Giustino, Sinfonia in C major RV717
Federico Guillermo (violin) *
Giovanni Guillermo (violin) #
L’Arte Dell’Arco/Christopher Hogwood
Recorded at the Palazzo Giusti, Padova, January 1998
DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 74321 935602 [68.27]

These aren’t overtures in the accepted modern sense. In the earlier eighteenth century in Italy a Sinfonia was played before curtain rise, a three-movement work unrelated thematically to the content of the opera. And that’s what we have here – works analogous to Vivaldi’s other sinfonias and concertos and often following similar stylistic lines.

Whether or not it’s true, as he claimed, that Vivaldi wrote ninety-four operas – and whether that included the numerous pasticcios he would have compiled – the fact remains that he was prolific. His Sinfonias (or overtures) are here presented with some Concertos (one for violin – which I doubt you’ll know) and the other a ripieno concerto (and thus without a soloist). Most have been recorded over the years.

The original instrument band L’Arte Dell’Arco performs under Christopher Hogwood in these recordings made in 1998 – they are spirited, lively and consistently stylish. Horns and oboes are to the fore in a couple of the Sinfonias and the former make a fine show in the hunting motifs of the Bajazet opening allegro. Hogwood and the band pay sure attention to dynamics – note the diminuendo to crescendo ascent of L’Olimpiade’s Allegro opener and the very expressive playing of the Andante of La Verita’ in Cimento. The Violin Concerto Amato Bene is not at all well known and is idiomatically played by Federico Guillermo who devised the programme and shares soloistic duties with his brother and co-leader Giovanni, .whose intonation isn’t above reproach in the Concerto in F with its Four Seasons like ritornello. Talking of which the ritornello of the concluding Allegro of La Dorilla actually is better known as that from Spring from the Seasons. The band and Hogwood are strong on accents and rhythmic impetus – sample the former in the impressive largo from the Concerto in D (the ripieno concerto mentioned earlier) as indeed they are with the light, tripping articulation and sobbing motif of the slow movement of Il Giustino.

This is a most attractive and well-played selection and preferable to the recording made of some of these sinfonias by I Solisti Veneti – they have more delicacy and correspondingly more vigour. Good notes and a well reproduced Canaletto on the booklet cover. A nice touch.

Jonathan Woolf

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