Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Vivaldi: 6 Cello Sonatas

“The performances are thoughtful and enlightened, with a continuo group that includes organ, harpsichord, cello, archlutes, theorboes and guitars in a variety of combinations. The quality of the recorded sound is fine.” --Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

Pointed, agile and extrovert playing from Pieter Wispelwey, a young Dutch artist with an impeccable pedigree in music of the Baroque era (his teachers included Anner Bylsma and Anthony Pleeth), and members of the ensemble Florilegium. To dispense initially with questions of provenance, the first three works recorded here are unquestionably by Antonio Vivaldi; RV39, 42 and 44, discovered in the Schönborn archive in Bavaria and published in 1975, remain the focus of controversy (though their attribution is far less problematic than that of another A minor work, not included here, yet accredited to the composer for well over 150 years).

The notes suggest that the recording aims to recapture something of the vitality, exuberance and adventure associated with Vivaldi’s Venice. The performances reflect a balanced synthesis of flair, introspection and decorum, ensuring that such aspirations are ideally realised; Wispelwey’s tempi are lithe and mobile, with imaginative continuo realisations from Florilegium adding variety and gravitas throughout.

Harpsichord and organ registrations are expertly tailored to support the solo line, while varied combinations of archlute, guitar and theorbo are used in all except RV39. Wispelwey plays an English instrument by Barak Norman (1710) whose bright, immediate timbre is a welcome asset in these sonatas. An involving issue, enhanced by discreetly balanced and mercifully uncoloured recorded sound. --Michael Jameson, BBC Music Magazine

Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 5 (out of 5)

MP3 320 · 144 MB

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