Interesting but strange
J. A. Dueck | Minneapolis, MN USA | 11/24/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I was very interested to hear of the new Penguin Classics, but this recording is not as good as some others I have heard. Despite being a remaster of an analogue recording from the 70s, it has pretty crisp sound. Another interesting thing is that there are a few trills and other parts by instruments in places where I never heard them before. Also, some parts have been brought to the foreground where I am used to hearing them in the background; for example, the harpsichord is quite a bit overemphasized in Winter, and it is kind of distracting.The problem that plagues this recording is lethargy. My biggest complaint is the violin solos really wimp out during the parts where you expect them to really dig in and play with a little oomf and flair. An example is in the very first track, the first mvmt of Spring; they play very well, but they place almost no serious zing or accent into that fantastic section in the middle, and towards the end they fade off listlessly and are drowned by the orchestra. Same thing for the first mvmt of Summer. The playing of the haunting solo for Winter sounds stuttered, while the orchestra sounds raw and a bit discordant. In many places the tempo is lazy and muffled where it is supposed to be driving and inspiring."
Classic Vivaldi Disc from 1969/70.
Fareed Suheimat | Amman, Jordan | 12/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What makes this disc unique is the imaginative continuo support from Simon Preston, split between a harpsichord and organ, and very spotlit by the recording. In the baroque period, musicians were expected to improvise, add embellishments and flesh out the base line, and Simon Preston takes full advantage of this license. After this record's harpsichord contribution, other performances of the Seasons will be found lacking, at least to my ears. Just listen to the opening to Winter (my favourite Vivaldi Season).
This particular disc is issued under the Penguin Music Classics series, which I actually like very much. The CD packaging in this series has an attractive design, like the Penguin Classics books. Included in the series are well written essays and anecdotes by various successful authors, telling you a little (sometimes very little) about the music.
Finally, at 42 minutes, this particular CD is short measure. Look for the Decca legends edition of this performance, which adds a further three Vivaldi concertos to the programme."
Best Vivaldi classic of all time!
Thomas G. Brooks | 09/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had this version on 8 track when I was a kid. My mother raised me on this. We lost the 8 track over 15 years ago. I have searched and searched until I came across the LP cover on ebay and searched from there. To make a long story short, I have gone through over 6 copies of Vivaldi over the years through various artists in search for the unique sounds found by St. Martin in the fields. I don't know what it is about this version but it has a bit of nostalgia for me and that makes all the difference in the world."