One-stop Vivaldi shopping
Wayne A. | Belfast, Northern Ireland | 02/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fifty dollars (35 with some dealers listed here) buys you an excellent seven disc collection of many of Vivaldi's favorite concertos. The recordings were made in the 1960s but the sound quality is excellent. The performances are "old-school," as someone would say, played on modern instruments and in a manner that doesn't reflect the revised "correct" view of how these works should be performed. That means the sound is smooth and lovely and the playing is not manic and irritating. Personally I find these long highly-regarded recordings to be charming and filled with character and the performances flawless without sounding sterile at all. Maybe it's not the way Vivaldi wanted them to sound but go ahead and prove that conclusively! I purchased this set not long ago and I have to admit that the magical recording of the Four Seasons contained within made me fall in love with the piece all over again--after ignoring it for nearly two decades. The rest of the set made me finally fall in love with Vivaldi's music.
You'll encounter a lot of strong opinions on this kind of stuff. I'm ignoring most of it and going where my heart takes me on music like this--I don't want it to make me feel smug, I want it to make me smile.
Next stop, Munchinger's Water Music and more of the extraordinary Bach Guild recordings which I cannot recommend enough."
Excellent modern instrument set of vivaldi, superb recording
rc_rc | Yorkshire, UK | 02/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Firstly the suggestion that period instrument specialists are 'manic and irritating' is unfortunately ill-informed.
That is not to take away the fact that these modern instrument Academy performances of major vivaldi concertos are (a) outstandingly good for modern instrument versions [which is a valid preference] and (b) superb value for money. If your preference is (as mine is generally) for the more rhythmic and colourful aspects of period performance then you may be disappointed, but then you wouldn't be buying a modern instrument set of Vivaldi anyway. As such they are beautiful and virtuosic performances.
This 4 seasons has a top-notch reputation (not listened to it yet) but whereas the l'estro armonico and La Cetra recordings show the limitations of a modern chamber orchestra where a sprightlier period approach may overcome a certain overpolished sheen (beautiful in its own way), the La Stravaganza set is quite simply magnificent, with not a hint of stodginess, where the period/modern debate matters not one jot and sheer liberated musicianship takes hold. I have not heard Podger's new period recording of this, but this modern instrument performance blows away Pinnock's (now quite old) period instrument recording of the same work in my view.
In all buy this set with confidence if you are happy to overlook the period performance movement and wish to discover Vivaldi played by top-notch interpreters, or buy this as part of (or the start of) a larger vivaldi collection, and add other interpretations from the likes of Biondi, Standage, et al, on period instruments and even Virtuosi di Roma (on modern instruments) and I Musici if that style floats your boat....