With so many versions of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, and after listening them so many times, I asked myself if it's something I still don't know or heard. This version gave me the answer. Compared with this version, the others seem weak, superflous, ambiance music to entertain bored monarchs. With Karajan and Ann-Sophie Mutter, Vivaldi regains power, character and now is music to be listened with attention to all the interesting details that make this version the best one I ever heard.
In May of 2015, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter gave a truly unique concert: rather than standing on stage in one of the world’s renowned well-tempered grand concert halls, she spent two evenings playing in a tiny graffiti-scrawled nightclub in Berlin. Recorded in front of a standing-room only audience, this new release includes popular works by Bach, Copland, Gershwin, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi and many more. Mutter is joined by Mahan Esfahani, Lambert Orkis and the Mutter Virtuosi.
As in the successful volumes 1-3 this is a very exciting recording, featuring the bassoon as you never heard before! The 54th release in the Vivaldi Edition features a selection of the finest works for bassoon ever composed, regardless of the instrument, this is a complete view of Vivaldi’s universe, performed by a true genius of baroque music. With each CD Azzolini proves himself to be an artist of endless immagination and virtuosity. With each new recording he surpasses the one before.
This very attractive release from Channel Classics features the terrific British period instrument ensemble Florilegium in performances of three Vivaldi concertos and two sacred vocal works. The group plays without a conductor and the players' shapely unanimity of phrasing and nuanced expressiveness give the performances the character of chamber music. It sidesteps the metric squareness that can plague performances of Vivaldi and let the music breathe and surge organically. The strings have the slight tartness of Baroque instruments and the overall sound of the orchestra has an appealing burnished sheen. This is relatively obscure repertoire and includes a flute concerto that was only discovered in 2010 and is recorded here for the first time, played beautifully by Ashley Solomon, the artistic director of Florilegium.
Director and violinist Amandine Beyer acknowledges in her booklet notes for this disc that the world may not seem to need another recording of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, but then she tops the bar she has set up by delivering an entirely distinctive reading of the work. Her version, with the Italian historical-instrument group Gli Incogniti (who are not quite as unknown as all that), is as strikingly revisionist as the various turbo-powered, operatic Vivaldi recordings that began coming out of Italy in the 1990s, but it is different in flavor. In her own words, Beyer seeks "lightweight forces and freedom of phrasing." The group is small, with microphones put down right in the middle, and you hear lots of internal lines and interplay rather than contrast between orchestra and soloist.