Not as much fun as it could be given the premise
R. Kelly Wagner | MD, United States | 04/15/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This isn't a bad album. It's a perfectly nice run-through of Four Seasons, twice. But the premise is that there are many different performers in many different styles, and the actuality comes out less varied than one would hope. The performers are certainly all-stars, and there's nothing wrong with any of the performances. It's just that, they're, well, the same performances those all-stars could give any time. There are no new interpretations of the work. There are very few adaptations to unusual instruments - except for the movements done mainly on guitar, everything else is essentially the basic original orchestration, with different soloists filling in instead of the violin - Michaela Petri on recorder, James Galway on flute, etc.And I didn't feel that the choice of which soloists did which movements was as inspired as it could have been. In several movements, the soloists hardly came across as soloists at all. The order in which the performers appeared, appeared to have been chosen at random. That is, every movement was played in order, with some randomly chosen set of artists doing it. Then, the (nearly) whole thing was played again, this time with the artists chosen randomly a different way, so that Michaela Petri was doing a different movement from the first time through.Many casual listeners to classical music aren't aware that each "Season" is actually made up of three sections. The recording switches performers with every section. I personally think this would have been more effective if one set of performers had done all three sections of a season, long enough for the listener to really get a feel for their sound, then switched to another performer only with the change of seasons. With 8 seasons to go through (four times two), that still would have allowed for plenty of variety, and left one much more able to appreciate that variety.If you don't already have a recording of "The Four Seasons" then this one isn't bad at all - go ahead and buy it. But if you already have several recordings, you won't be adding anything unusual or radically different to your collection."
A New Twist for an Old Favorite!
kelsie | Plainview, Texas United States | 05/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I own two other renderings of "The Four Seasons" in addition to this one, and this disc is my favorite. Vivaldi intended for "The Four Seasons" to be a multimedia experience, incorporating music, image, and poetry. This collection truly captures that spirit of versatility by arranging the work for several different instruments (not just guitar, as the previous review would have you believe). In addition, the movements rendered with soloist Gottfried von der Goltz on the Baroque violin sound almost completely different from any previous recordings. His style is hard, almost violent, while his instrument sounds much darker and richer than a modern violin. It adds a depth to "The Four Seasons" lacking in many new studio recordings. The third movement from "Summer" in particular is stunning, with von der Goltz transforming it from a mere succession of rushing 16th notes into an exuberant, virtuosic portrait of a prairie thunderstorm. The guitar, flute, and electronic arrangements (only one electronic arrangement, however) are excellent, retaining the true spirit of the original while managing to add something new. The disc contains the entire cycle of the seasons twice, with various different instrumentations playing each movement. Lovers of "The Four Seasons," Baroque music, or classical music in general will find MUCH to appreciate here!"