When back in 2003 Rachel Podger’s recording of Vivaldi’s 12 violin concertos Op.4 ‘La Stravaganza’ Vivaldi: La Stravaganza – Podger/Arte Dei Suonatori was released it was universally acclaimed & quickly went on to garner numerous awards from many sections of the music press including Gramophone, Stereophile & The Absolute Sound as well as winning a Diapason d’Or. It is also interesting to note that even on SA-CD.net more than 100 people have recommended that recording. In the intervening years Rachel Podger has widened her recorded repertoire to make further highly regarded recordings of works by Bach, Haydn & Mozart, but she has now made a triumphant return to Vivaldi with this wonderful set of the composer’s 12 Violin Concertos Op.9 known as ‘La Cetra’ .
Mezzo Magdalena Kožená returns with another early music adventure on Archiv Production after her highly acclaimed Vivaldi album: Kožená explores the early Italian Baroque music of Claudio Monteverdi with rewarding results. Inspired by the improvisational nature of much of this music, Kožená reveals yet another aspect of her musical personality with selections from L’incoronazione di Poppea, Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and more.
This album, originally recorded in 1992, was remastered in 2008 and issued as part of the Heritage series of Jordi Savall's Alia Vox label in a nifty combination of reissue and improvement. The album certainly qualifies as one of the greatest hits of Savall (whose role here is as gambist, with a small ensemble of northern European players ) and his wife, soprano Montserrat Figueras, who is the star of the show. Figueras' vocals are as usual a central attraction, with their incredible combination of suppleness, accuracy over a wide range, expression, and Iberian gutsiness. But the program here, though somewhat removed from the Iberian core of the Figueras/Savall repertory, is equally compelling.
This release marks the world-premiere recording and rediscovery of Antonio Caldara’s La Concordia de’ pianeti, a musical serenade of operatic magnitude composed for the court of Austrian Emperor Karl VI, featuring the crème de la crème of the day’s singers, including the legendary castrato Carestini.
Unearthed and edited by Andrea Marcon, the piece offers a series of virtuosic arias, breath-taking cantilenas and ethereal duets performed by some of the finest singers of today…
After recording Vivaldi's set of Violin Concertos 'La Stravaganza', Opus 4, in 2003, Rachel Podger has been immersed in music by Mozart and Bach on disc. But it has now felt right to come back to the Venetian Maestro, whose sense of drama she adores: “This time I chose his opus 9, the set of 12 Violin concertos entitled 'La Cetra'. There are plenty of jewels in this set, just as in 'La Stravaganza', with even higher technical demands made on the soloist including many, often exotic experimental effects.”
"When listening to this CD I turned the volume up just slightly past my normal listening level, and I was rewarded with a room-filling reproduction of what I’d heard in Amsterdam. "Uitstekend!" Highly recommended." ~ClassicsToday.com
This album of Mozart opera overtures will certainly delight the Mozart fan, as performed by La Cetra Barockorchester Basel under the baton of Andrea Marcon. This is indeed an orchestra that understands Mozart; the musicians utilize excellent technique and solid musicianship that respects Mozart's phrasing and dynamics. Apollo et Hyacinthus is sweet, light, and almost Baroque in character, as is La finta semplice, therefore these pieces are fitting for a Baroque orchestra. La finta semplice feels, one might argue, rather like a chamber piece or a concerto grosso; thus, it is interesting to examine the style of Mozart's overtures and how they vary in character over time. With Mitridate, one hears more of that famed Mozart melodic lyricism, coupled with his playfulness at the end of the piece. Ascanio in Alba is sunny yet majestic at the beginning, and this contrast is carefully performed by La Cetra.
A slightly older contemporary of Vivaldi, Alessandro Marcello is a less well-known composer of the early eighteenth century, whose home town was Venice and whose younger brother was the more prolific Benedetto. These well-crafted concerti, the most famous works among his output, are sadly infrequently performed. The six 'La Cetra' concertos are unusual for their wind solo parts, instrumental contrasts and combinations, and use of counterpoint within a broadly, Vivaldian style. They provide a cross-section of Marcello's instrumental style of composition and can be seen as a last outpost of the classic Venetian baroque concerto.
Anyone seeking a respectable Vivaldi collection by dependable performers will find this seven-disc set from Decca more than suitable for everyday needs and quite rewarding on repeated listening.