thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded
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Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Concertos per flauto/flautino Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Preludes Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier BWV 731 [1:52]
Concerto in G minor RV 312 [7:51] Prelude in F major BWV 854 [1:23]
Concerto in F major RV 442 [9:26] Ach, was soll ich Sünder machen BWV 770 [1:08]
Concerto in E minor RV 445 [10:01] Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel herunter auf Erden BWV 650 [3:07]
Concerto in C major RV 444 [8:54] Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ BWV 639 [1:36]
Concerto in C minor RV 441 [11:38] Alle menschen müssen sterben BWV 643 [1:19]
Concerto in G major (RV 443) [10:03]
Stefan Temmingh (recorder)
Capricornus Consort Basel
rec. 2017, Church St. German, Seewen, Switzerland. ACCENTACC24332 [68:38]
This recording brings together Vivaldi’s six extant concertos, two “per Flauto” and four “per Flautino”, marrying them with a selection of Preludes by Bach. This programming offers pleasant contrast and moments of repose in between the often energetic outer movements of the concertos. Stefan Temmingh’s notes on these concertos are extensive, posing and answering all kinds of questions about interpretation. I will neatly sidestep such useful but detailed discussion and just wax lyrical about the music.
Superbly recorded, the detail from the orchestral sound means that all kinds of stunning effects carry us along from start to finish. The rhythmic slapping strings in the third movement of RV 312 are most jazzy, the chime of a psaltery adds charming colour to RV 442, a bassoon adds its weighty foundation to a thrumming theorbo in RV 444, and the nicely rounded continuo of a chest organ and harp gives RV 441 added mellifluousness – there is never a dull moment here.
Comparing the famous RV 443 with Maurice Steger on the Harmonia Mundi label (review) and Stefan Temmingh sounds less as if he is on a desperate breakneck downhill ride despite keeping similar tempi in the outer movements. Both players improvise widely with that lovely central movement, arguably too much when the melody vanishes almost entirely, though Temmingh at least keeps the first statement of the tune fairly straight where Steger starts messing around right from the start.
The Bach Preludes are given contrasting instrumentation, indeed acting as highly effective preludes to each concerto, both in terms of key and instrumental timbre. It is fascinating to place Bach’s wonderful expressiveness in the service of religion against Vivaldi’s earthy Venetian entertainments, and with seamlessly timed entries between pieces there is no chance of the programme becoming in any way fragmentary.
Highlights in such a superb disc are too many to list, but listen to Temmingh’s staccato in the first movement of RV 312 and I defy you not to smile. The repeated chords of the central movement to this concerto are deep and rich, and I’ve already mentioned the groovy slap of the third movement. The psaltery is used to lovely effect in the Prelude in F major BWV 854, setting us up for its use in RV 442, the central movement of which is very moving indeed. I love the pizzicato middle movement of RV 444, though the solo could be a little quieter here to keep the proportions ideal. Basically this is a release that I will be keeping handy for whenever I feel the urge to dance around and rediscover the joys of living on dark and rainy afternoons. It compliments rather than competes with Maurice Steger’s recording which also offers maximum fun, though a wilder approach to performance in general; what I referred to as “remarkable musical hooliganism” in my review. Temmingh is more civilised and his programme concept more thoughtful, but by no means less of a joy to hear.
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