New life for an old classic
Robert D. Gardner | Fort Collins, CO | 07/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons' suffers a fate common to many classical masterpieces, that of being overplayed to the point of being annoying. It's rare that a new recording of the piece has anything original to offer. Jeffrey Biegel's thoughtful piano arrangement is one of those rare ones that successfully breathe new life into an old workhorse.
A transcription for piano naturally poses the question of how the composer might have rendered the piece differently than the arranger. Since the piano didn't even exist during Vivaldi's life, this perhaps affords the performer even more freedom than usual to employ all the capabilities of the modern instrument. Jeffrey uses this freedom to great advantage, and combined with highly precise technique, has produced a genuinely interesting new interpretation of Vivaldi's venerable classic.
Two less well known pieces, the Mandolin Concerto in C major and the Lute Concerto in D major, are also included in this recording. Being mostly unfamiliar with these works, I was able to enjoy them without constantly comparing them mentally to their orchestral counterparts as I did with the Four Seasons.
The sound quality is a little bit dry, with little ambience, but that's rather easy to fix with the turn of a few electronic knobs.
Overall, this is a very worthwhile new recording of an old classic, and I've already enjoyed it several times since it arrived earlier today."
Hoc Stercus | Hudson, NY USA | 04/16/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All of the pieces on this CD are quite familiar. But this is the first time I have heard piano versions of them. It is a most pleasant and agreeable experience. Maybe this production falls into the category of "pop-classical" music; but I find myself giving it repeated spins.I would put this album in the category of "downright" enjoyable."
Everything but the seasons
CMC | Italy | 02/21/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I am deeply attracted by transcriptions, which are really an appealling aspect on a new cd that I am goung to buy. On the other side, a trascription should not be a "let's play it on another instrument" thing, but a "let's create a new piece with old notes which is suitable on a instrument different from the one used for the composition". What I find a bit bad is that the four seasons are the less interesting thing on this record: in fact the used edition is the Ricordi one, which is more a reduction than a real trascription.
The CD, however, is worth the wile for the other two concertos included in the recording, which have a real good use of "pianistic" effects in order to transform them in actual trascriptions, thus following the example of Liszt, Reger (and, actually, also of Bach, who did a real genius work in transforming for cembalo or organ a lot of string concertos).
Nothing to say about the performance, which is greatly enhanced in the aforementioned two concertos, thanks also to a better piano writing style."