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Early Music

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger



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Antonio VIVALDI (1675 -1741)
Opera Overtures:

Dorilla in Tempe [5.43]
Farnace [1.25]
Giustino [7.48]
Ottone in Villa [5.12]
L’Incoronazione di Dario [6.00]
Griselda [6.22]
La verità in cimento [6.38]
Armida al campo d’Egitto [5.08]
Bajazet (Tamerlano) [7.40]
L’Olimpiade [7.16]
Arsilda Regina di Ponto (Orlando furioso) [5.29]
I solisti Veneti/Claudio Scimone
Rec. Piazzola sul Brenta in the Villa Simes Contarini, Venice, Italy, July 1978. ADD
Notes in English, Français, and Deutsch. No photos.
Previously released on Erato.
WARNER APEX 2564 60537-2 [65.39]


If you’re like me and think you’ve heard everything Vivaldi ever wrote at least once, you may be in for a surprise. And if you think that you’ve heard everything he wrote worth hearing, you may be in for an even greater surprise. Some of these pieces will be familiar from having been played frequently as orchestral concertos, such as the L’Incoronazione di Dario Overture. And the last section of Dorilla in Tempe is the opening of the Four Seasons. But the Overture to La Verità in Cimento was completely new to me. It is one of Vivaldi’s very finest works and, if you don’t already have it, it is worth the price of the disk by itself.

The analogue sound is smooth with good dynamics, but not close or very transparent, although all the details seem to be there — the solo violin and harpsichord cadenzas. There is little stereo spread. Tempi are graceful and not rushed but a suitably high energy level is maintained.

The last page of the English essay and the first page of the French essay are missing from the booklet, but if you read French, you end up getting it all in one language or the other. The German essay is much curtailed.

In the notes the unnamed English translator (due to the difficulty described above) has rendered the title l’Estro Armonico as "Musical imagination let loose" certainly the most colourful way I’ve heard it put.

In 1978 Claudio Scimone wrote in these notes that the importance of Vivaldi’s operatic output is "...only just being realised." Unfortunately in the last 25 years all we have seen of this is the superb production of Orlando Furioso by the San Francisco Opera, already a classic on video, just released on DVD. Some more recent live performances have been indifferently recorded. But what else have we? When will Vivaldi’s operatic importance finally be fully realised?

Paul Shoemaker

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