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Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Recorder Concertos: G minor, RV 103 [10:25]; D major, RV 92 [10:15]; G minor, RV 105 [8:45]; D major, RV 94 [10:50]; A minor, RV 108 [8:25]; C major, RV 87 [8:20]; G major, RV 101 [9:41]
László Kecskeméti (recorder)
László Hadady (oboe)
Attila Falvay and Katalin Párkányi (violins)
György Olajos (bassoon)
György Kertész (cello)
Borbála Dobozy (harpsichord)
rec. 24-27 July 2003; Phoenix Studios, Budapest, Hungary. DDD
NAXOS 8.557215 [66:41]

This disc of recorder concertos by Vivaldi is the latest in ‘The Vivaldi Collection’, a continuing series by Naxos. Seven of Vivaldi’s concertos that include the recorder are presented in this recording by László Kecskeméti along with a chamber group consisting of two violins, oboe, bassoon, cello and harpsichord.

Vivaldi is widely credited with bringing the Italian concerto to prominence, with nearly five hundred concertos surviving. The seven concertos recorded on this disc each vary slightly in scoring, with different combinations of the instruments already mentioned. The harpsichord is the main continuo throughout, and the basso continuo is completed by bassoon, cello or a combination of both. Both violins are found in only two of the concertos (Concerto in A minor, RV 108 and Concerto in C major, RV 87), and all but one of the remaining concertos (Concerto in G minor, RV 103) contain one violin. The oboe is also found in five of the seven concertos.

Typically, each of the concertos consists of three movements, of which the two outer are quick and the central movement slow. Despite having this structure in common each is sufficiently different for the interest not to wane throughout the full 66 minutes of this disc; quite the opposite in fact. There is some really engaging, exciting, dramatic and exquisite music on offer. Particularly worthy of mention are: the Concerto in A minor, RV 108, which represents some of the most striking music here; the recorder and bassoon duet from the Concerto in G minor, RV 105, and the middle movement of the Concerto in D major, RV 94 are both charming in their simplicity.

An invigorating and airy quality found in many of Vivaldi’s works is complemented by the lively performances of the players, who without exception sound both confident and relaxed. The ensemble from the opening of the disc is tight, but not so rigid as to be to the detriment of the natural and flowing virtues of the music. Kecskeméti displays a wonderful affinity with, and flair for, this repertoire, with deeply musical, stylish and imaginative interpretations. The consistent and inventive continuo combination of Borbála Dobozy and György Kertész plays a vital role, while the sensitive playing of the violinists and oboist serves to complement the delicate tone of the recorder.

An intimate, clear and superbly balanced recorded sound coupled with fine performances make this disc worthy of high recommendation.

Adam Binks

see also review by Glyn Pursglove

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