Vivaldi: Concertos & Other Works / Fisk, Hand, Schulman

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"Although these works were written for lute or mandolin, Eliot Fisk has arranged them for the modern guitar. In an interview with him, printed in the booklet, he explains exactly what he has done and how he has created these works, always with a mind to the period of the compositions.

For many people, too many perhaps, the name of Vivaldi means The Four Seasons and the Gloria, but his output was huge including over 500 Concertos and 46 operas!

This is a very pleasant disk which presents some delightful music in suitably small-scale performances. Fisk makes the point that the lutes and mandolins of Vivaldi’s time probably had metal strings and this sound would add a certain percussiveness and piquancy to the faster movements – indeed, it would make a very welcome variety of tone colour if we had this sound in these works. As it is, with the modern guitar and its softer, usually nylon, strings which are plucked by either the fingernails or the fingertips, what Fisk has done is to round off the edges of the music, making it easier on the ear, but also robbing the quick music of, what could be, some very exciting sounds. Thus the opening movement of the Mandolin Concerto in C, RV425, which is delightful musically, does sound rather like a popular music group serenading under the window of the beloved. I wonder if this is wrong? It does seem to be a somewhat hybrid sound which I doubt is what could have been made of the music with a stronger sounding, metal strung, instrument. The slow movement, a soliloquy for the guitar, accompanied only by chords from the string orchestra, is a superb example of sustained playing, keeping an eye on the line, and taking time to allow the music to speak...

The Lute Concerto in D, RV93 has some fine string playing, the orchestra is much more prominent here than before, and there is a good sound spread between soloist and band. The finale is a real joy to hear. Without a doubt the highlight of this disk is the Double Mandolin Concerto in G, RV532, which works very well for two guitars. There is a real Venetian splendour to the slow movement and the outer, fast, movements are great fun."

-- Bob Briggs, MusicWeb International

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: NI2515

  • UPC: 710357251528

  • Label: Nimbus

  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Orchestra of St. Luke's

  • Performer: Albert Fuller, Eliot Fisk, Frederic Hand, Louise Schulman