Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Antonio Vivaldi, Francesco Geminiani, Martin Pearlman|
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
The Four Seasons, one of the most famous pieces of classical music, circulated widely in Vivaldi's time. Years later, though, it fell out of the repertoire for over a century before being "rediscovered" in the first part o... more »
Listen to Samples
The Four Seasons, one of the most famous pieces of classical music, circulated widely in Vivaldi's time. Years later, though, it fell out of the repertoire for over a century before being "rediscovered" in the first part of the 20th century. First published in Amsterdam in 1725, The Four Seasons are the first four of a set of twelve concertos with the overall title Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione (The contest between harmony and invention), Op. 8.The original publication that included The Four Seasons provided a sonnet (possibly by Vivaldi himself) giving a detailed program for each of the four concertos, and indicating pictorial effects in greater detail than any other work of Vivaldi. These include bird calls; angry tremolos designated as "thunder;" gentle dotted rhythms marked "the murmuring of the fronds and plants"; the viola as "barking dog;" a pastoral dance with the sound of bagpipes; the voice of the cuckoo and the turtle dove; a furious summer storm; a depiction of "drunks;" an imitation of horn calls in "the hunt;" the shiver of Winter, with its blasts of wind and chattering of teeth, sliding on the ice, falling as it cracks, and the joy of resting peacefully by the fireside. Too many to name here, they are all spelled out in the sonnets and notes that accompany the CD.Why The Four Seasons? The only possible reason to record another version of The Four Seasons is to introduce a new, astonishingly talented young baroque violinist to the musical public. Even then, the soloist should have the one-of-a-kind support that comes only from a world-class period-instrument orchestra and conductor, as well as the sonics of a world-class recording team. The stunning new young soloist is Christina Day Martinson, a native of Saskatchewan, Canada, and twice a National Finalist and prize-winner in the Canadian Music Competition. Ms. Day Martinson performs regularly as soloist, concertmaster and orchestra member with Boston Baroque, and she has appeared as concerto soloist with Tempesta di Mare, UNICAMP Symphony Orchestra in Brazil, and Amsterdam's Symphony Orkest Mozart.
Absolutely the best Four Seasons I've heard
E. Davis | Bloomfield, NJ USA | 04/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I didn't think that I (or anyone else) really needed another Four Seasons. Someone told me that there were more than 150 versions. This is pretty amazing considering that the first recording was only in 1942 and not really known here until about 1948. My favorites have been the English Concert and the recording by Monica Huggett and the Raglan Players. These are both outstanding period instruments recordings and are easy recommendations. I gave a very favorable review to a recording by Sarah Chang on modern instruments. I was pleasantly surprised by that one. This recording by Pearlman's Boston Baroque goes immediately to the top of the list for many reasons. It is a splendidly nuanced performance with very tasteful ornamentation and virtuoso playing (but never splashy or tasteless). Some may find the sound of this recording a bit thin, but these are period instruments and they can have a somewhat astringent sound. I think it is appropriate to the music. The Boston Baroque is in fine form here. They never try to overwhelm the listener (as does Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante in their tasteless and vulgar recording). There are enough dynamic contrasts to suit most listeners and there is the extra treat of the two Geminiani concerti grosso, the second being the famous La Follia variations based on Corelli's op. 5.
The notes by Pearlman are first rate and include the original program notes by Vivaldi (in Italian and English translation). For those who do not know what this means, the Four Seasons (the first four concerti of Vivaldi's Op. 8) is a very early example of programmatic music, in that it tells a story and the music represents the story. The only gripe is the incredibly small font used, so, unless you have great eyesight, get out your magnifying glass as I had to do. But don't pass up this recording. It is really a gem!"