Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Antonio Vivaldi, Pinchas Zukerman, Layton James|
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Listen to Samples
Similarly Requested CDs
The Best Version of the Album that's Out There! But Only Ju
Frederick Baptist | Singapore | 06/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" will always have a very special place in my heart. When I was an early teen and curious about classical music having been brought up on rock and too much disco, I remember shyly going into a classical music store and asking the sales person if he could tell me which was the best version of this piece that I should buy. I had read that it was a good piece in some newspaper article and I thought that maybe this would be as good a place as any to start my classical music experiment.
Straight away I was presented with the "Great Performances - Vivaldi The Four Seasons" by Pinchas Zukerman and the English Chamber Orchestra cassette (cds were not yet invented, yes, I know, I do feel old these days)and I went home and I remember loving this album passionately. I had never thought that I could listen to this cassette more often than my Depeche Mode, Duran Duran and Hall and Oates albums but the sound was great and I thought if all classical music was this good, I couldn't wait to try the rest! Ah.. the naivette of youth.
Anyways, the cassette naturally wore out and then I in my ignorance thought that one "Four Seasons" must be as good as any other and got a cassette by I Musici and then later by The Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields and boy was I stunned! Both of them sounded totally off and to my ear not even the same piece! Unlike Zukerman who seemed to take his time and let the piece breathe and seemed to just be a much, much better violinist technically in playing the notes, the other soloists just plain sounded terrible to me and it was as it they were playing the notes quickly to hide the fact that they didn't have the proper technique to execute the notes properly, similar to what rock guitarists do with effects and distortion so that you don't hear the mistakes as clearly.
That's when I realised that in classical music, the performer and how the piece is interpreted is the most important thing. I had always wondered up to then what conductors were for and it all dawned upon me at that point in time. Years passed and I couldn't find a cd version of this album until very recently. The only problem is that the disc isn't remastered and so the sound quality is not that great.
Then I came across the next best thing: Pinchas Zukerman in a more recent recording albeit with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra instead of the English Chamber Orchestra. I was blown away by the vast improvement of the sound quality and I'm convinced that this is the best recording of this piece that is currently out there...that is until Sony/CBS decide to digitally remaster the "Great Performances" version which is the best performed version to date. This version reviewed here is the best sounding one in terms of sound quality of the recording.
To cut a long story short, until they remaster Zukerman's brilliant work with the English Chamber Orchestra, this version with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is the best one to get.
Wonderful, if less exciting playing
Baker Sefton Peeples | Santa Cruz, CA United States | 03/15/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Pinchas zukerman, IMHO, is one of the best living violinists and I think this recording of him playing the four seasons with the st. paul chamber orchestra is a wonderful rendition of these ubiquitous pieces. Usually I find myself turning off the radio or the CD player once i hear the four seasons, but with this CD, I didn't, which, for me, says something about the caliber of these performances.
Zukerman plays with such confidence of the idiom, without resorting to "old-fashioned" baroque playing that was awfully heavy and perverse, but provides a nice alternative to the more frequently heard "historically informed" performances. As a violinist, I really appreciate hearing such full tone and expertly bow control used in these pieces. Winter, i think, shows zukerman at his finest, esp. the heartfelt slow movement. Sure, as another reviewer stated, the outer movements do lack that fiery quality that i tend to associate with vivaldi, but i don't think it's at all detrimental to the performances, by any means. The other three seasons are well-played as well, and zukerman's balancing of his tone with the st. paul chamber orchestra is exceptional.
This, however, i don't find to be quite "desert island" status, but anyone interested in finding modern performances of these concerti that aren't in the baroque style of playing should hear these."
Good but a little restrained
Baker Sefton Peeples | 07/04/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Zukerman's Four Seasons is a good recording with very lyrical slow movements and excellent balance between soloist and orchestra. However, the outer movements are, in my humble opinion, a little restrained. In comparison to the passionate, dramatic accounts in other performances, Zukerman sounds somewhat stiff and polished in the fast movements. The high point of this CD for me was the slow movement of the Winter Concerto. It sounds almost mesmerizingly beautiful. Despite the trend for violinists to play the solo parts and to lead the orchestra in the Four Seasons, most of the truly great recordings do have a separate conductor. I don't play the violin but just imagine playing all those virtuoso notes and trying to lead an orchestra...well, there are moments in this recording when I wish there was a separate conductor because the orchestra came in a little too soon or a little too late. All that aside, this is a great overall recording. Better than most others, including his rival Perlman. I just prefer more passion in the faster passages."