Amandine Beyer, Gli Incogniti – Vivaldi: Concerti ‘Nuova Stagione’ (2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:13:34 minutes | 1,28 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | © Zig-Zag Territoires
After a recording of The Four Seasons that was awarded several distinctions (ZZT080803), Amandine Beyer and her ensemble come back to Vivaldi with a selection of concerti.
Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor: Amandine Beyer
Orchestra/Ensemble: Gli Incogniti
Reviews: The booklet notes by musicologist Olivier Fourés make it clear that to Antonio Vivaldi’s relentless experimentation and recombination of ideas, Amandine Beyer and Gli Incogniti have added some twists and turns of their own. The collection opens with a Violin Concerto, which, according to Fourés, Vivaldi’s protegé, Anna Maria, probably performed at the Pietà. In this concerto, the reconstructed organ takes on the role of a second soloist, in the first movement answering the violin’s figuration and playing with it an exuberant game of shuttlecock and battledore (Fourés suggests that the concertos for violin and organ all derived from concertos for two violins). The violin and organ, hewing a bit closer to the role of continuo instrument, interweave unaccompanied in the slow movement; the orchestra supports their bubbling passagework in the finale. Fourés assigns the Cello Concerto, RV 420, to 1710 and likens its opening to that of a cello sonata (with very light continuo support). The ensemble brings a sparkling effervescence to this movement, which includes a ground bass demonstrating Vivaldi’s ability to make formal structures dance. The group points up Vivaldi’s contrasts of consonance and dissonance, and smooth lines and jagged ones, in the slow movement; they make the finale bustle with crackling kinetic energy. According to the notes, the Flute Concerto, RV 431, represents an arrangement Vivaldi made, possibly for use in the Pietà, of the Violin Concerto, RV 208, “Il Grosso Mogul.” Manuel Granatiero plays the first movement with spittingly sharp articulation, offers an ingratiating duo with the continuo in the central Andante , which the ensemble has imported from another of Vivaldi’s concertos, RV 438, and, with only modest ornamentation, lends energy to the finale.
In the Violin Concerto, RV 194, which, like RV 808, purports to be a first recording, Beyer gives a virtuosic account of the solo part in the first and third movements (the last in exuberant triple time)—students who have only recently cut their teeth on Vivaldi’s op. 3 should take note: There’s a lot more to come. Simpler moments of repose offer relaxation in the slow one. By comparison, the opening of the Flute Concerto, RV 440, seems sedate if not academic. Fourés relates that Vivaldi later simplified the flute part, but that Beyer and the ensemble play the original version. Granatiero gives an especially ingratiating account of the brief slow movement and its dialog between the flute and the accompaniment. The Cello Concerto, RV 403, struts onto the stage with almost cocky assurance in a crisp performance of the first movement by Marco Ceccato and the ensemble; but Vivaldi moderates this assertiveness in the slow movement, piquantly accompanied by pizzicato strings; the concerto concludes with almost tongue-in-cheek impertinence in this reading.
Two more violin concertos bring the entire collection to a close. The first, RV 235, resembles the more virtuosic among Vivaldi’s concertos in its almost extravagantly technical solos (Fourés notes that the arpeggios with which the soloist accompanies the last appearance of the ritornello anticipates Felix Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto No. 2”—it seemed only a matter of time until musicologists would eventually trump composers’ own designations in this way.) The slow movement offers a melody over sustained harmonies in the upper strings undergirded by a pizzicato bass, while the finale brings a return of the pyrotechnics that illuminated the first movement. According to Fourés, the organ and violin concerto that brings the program to a close represents an adaptation of the Concerto for Two Violins, RV 517, which he believes bears a great similarity to the organ and violin concertos in its counterpoint and in the balance between soloists. It’s an effective piece in this arrangement, in all three of its movements—its serious first one, its conversational second one, and its swirling finale.
In clear recorded sound that nevertheless captures the reverberation of the Church of S. Pedro de Rates in Portugal, Gli Incognati has given a striking account of how much the composer could make of the addition of a few non-violinists (with strings alone, he could conjure more varied textures than many later orchestrators could extract from a full, expanded romantic orchestra). Recommended.
Concerto for violin and organ rv 808 *
Concerto for cello rv 420
Concerto for flute rv 431
8. Andante [rv 438] 9. Allegro
Concerto for violin rv 194 *
10. Allegro mà poco
Concerto for flute rv 440
13. Allegro non molto
Concerto for cello rv 403
17. Andante e spiritoso
Concerto for violin rv 235
19. Allegro non molto
Concerto for violin and organ, after rv 517
* – World premiere recording