Vivaldi - Gods Emperors & Angels

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VIVALDI Concertos for Various Instruments: RV 86 1 , 163, 271 2 , 312 3 , 445 4 , 482 5 , 500 6 , 526 7 , 530 8 ) Adrian Chandler, dir 2,7,8 (vn); Pamela Thorby 1,3,4 (rcr); 1,5,6 Peter Whelan (bn); 7,8 Sara Deborah Struntz (vn); La Serenissima (period instruments) AVIE AV 2201 (72:01)


One of the underlying motifs of this program seems to be Bohemia, which Vivaldi visited in 1730 and where he probably acquired the paper on which some of these concertos are written. This mixed program opens with what must be one of his briefest concertos, RV 163, in B?. Though under four minutes, and with no special solo instrument, it encompasses many of Vivaldi’s salient characteristics: a strong opening theme, a fine melody, and rhythmic surprise. This brief piece is called “Conca,” for reasons Adrian Chandler connects with a Bohemian use of the conch shell to ward off impending storm. The only storm in front of us here, however, is the pleasurable swirl of Vivaldi’s invention.


In 1727–28, Vivaldi wrote two sets of string concertos, both, in the end, called La Cetra (the lyre). One set was published in Amsterdam in 1727 as op. 9 and may have originally been intended for the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI, to whom, on a visit to Trieste in 1728, however, he personally gave a manuscript of a set of new concertos. Vivaldi may have been looking for a job, and the emperor was certainly interested, but nothing happened because the emperor died and Vivaldi, having moved to Vienna without a patron, died in poor straits. The ensemble plays one concerto from the published set (RV 530) and two from the manuscript (RV 526 and 271, of which the former had to be reconstructed by Chandler).


The remaining four concertos on this disc use bassoon and recorder for the concerted part. Two of these, however, are single-movement fragments (RV 482 and 312, the latter reconstructed by Chandler). There is also a “sonata” for recorder and bassoon (RV 86).


Numbering 19, La Serenissima is a fairly large band, as early instrumental ensembles go. This gives a pleasant and most-welcome heft to its sound. The soloists are all good and it would be invidious to single out one of them. This is Vivaldi at his most vivacious, but don’t overlook the rightly named “amorous” concerto (RV 271) from the 1728 manuscript with which the program ends. Anyone looking for an introduction to Vivaldi’s instrumental pieces other than The Four Seasons would do well to start here.


FANFARE: Alan Swanson


Product Description:


  • Catalog Number: AV2201


  • UPC: 822252220124


  • Label: Avie


  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi


  • Conductor: Adrian Chandler


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: La Serenissima


  • Performer: Adrian Chandler, Pamela Thorby, Peter Whelan, Sarah Deborah Struntz