If you love Vivaldi, this CD belongs in your collection. While it is The Four Seasons that brings most listeners to the Italian composer, these nine concertos give further proof of his brilliance.
His compositions soar in this limiting concerti ripieni form _ concertos for string orchestra without solo instruments. Nine short pieces in succession could become tiresome. But Vivaldi's compositions have the uplifting power of good poetry under the constraints of meter and rhyme. Each three-part concerto averages only seven minutes, with spirited opening and closing movements bridged by the slow, brief middle section. The A major concerto is drawn from an aria in Vivaldi's opera La Verita in cimento.
The musicians are the Dutch cellist Anner Bylsma and Tafelmusik, a Canadian group that is considered one of the best ensembles for performance on period instruments. Tafelmusik director Jeanne Lamon's violin skills are a highlight of the concerto in B-flat major.
The instruments are from the 17th and 18th centuries, reconditioned or accurately reproduced.
While lacking the resonance of their modern counterparts, they give the music a nostalgic wispiness that adds to the pleasure. Technical reproduction from digital tapes is excellent.
Anner Bylsma, Tafelmusik, Jeanne Lamon
Concertos for Strings