Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Vivaldi - Concerto per archi II

Vivaldi: Concerto per archi II: Concerto Italiano/Alessandrini: OP 30554
Vivaldi - Concerto per archi II: Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini: naive
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Jan 28 2014
Star rating: 3.0

For completists only? Volume 57 of naive's Vivaldi edition, 2nd disc of small scale Concerto per archi

This disc is another in naive's estimable Vivaldi edition and it is the second of Rinaldo Alessandrini and Concerto Italiano's pair of discs covering Vivaldi's Concerti per archi. These are small scale pieces for strings only, much smaller in scale than his string concertos. Here played by just five string players plus theorbo and harpsichord, these are compact pieces. The disc contains 11 three movement works with all movements under 3 minutes, and many a lot less. 
We do not know why Vivaldi wrote all these pieces, or for whom they were written. They are analogous to the four part instrumental sonate a quattro from the 16th century. But all use the three movement fast-slow-fast operatic overture form, which suggests that they were the prelude to something. There is no soloist and the two upper parts are more or less balanced. In style the movements are varied, with nods to both French and Italian syles, and to dance movements. But these are not simply suites of dances, Vivaldi is having far more fun than that. Each movement has a concentrated idea, which often uses a motif familiar in style from his larger scale works. Each is, in effect, a character study; the three movements are generally fast, slow, fast, so that the resulting work is nicely balanced.


The performanes from the ensemble are lively and infectious. The violin playing from Mauro Lopez Ferreira and Nicholas Robinson is consistently vibrant and briliiant. It is often incisive, and I have to confess that there were moments on the disc when I could have welcomed a little less crisp brilliance and attack. That said the players bring out the character of each movement in a highly coloured and vivid manner.The other players are Ettore Belli (viola), Diego Roncalli (violoncello) and Craig Marchitelli (theorbo) with Rinaldo Alessandrini directing from the harpsichord. The recording is quite close, which makes the technical prowess of the playing even more impressive, but a bit more air and acoustic would have been welcome.

These are pieces which benefit from being played in small doses. I am not certain that I want to listen to them in one sitting. The music could have done with some sort of contrast, interspersing the concertos with other items. I have to admit that, fine though these performances are and interesting though the pieces might be, this does seem a disc for completists.

Elsewhere on this blog:

No comments:

Post a comment

Popular Posts this month