One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Giovanni Antonio GUIDO (c.1675-after 1728)
Scherzi Armonici sopra le Quattro Stagioni dell'Anno, op.3 (c.1716-17)
Concerto I: Le Printems (Spring) [14:02]
Concerto II: L'Esté (Summer) [19:30]
Concerto III: L'Autonne (Autumn) [18:00]
Concerto IV: L'Hyver (Winter) [14:32]
Caroline Balding (violin)
The Band of Instruments/Roger Hamilton
rec. New College, Oxford, England 13-15 April 2004. DDD
DIVINE ART DDA 25072 [66:05]

Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons are among the best known, most frequently recorded works from the Baroque era. At the other end of the spectrum lies another, similar Four Seasons by Vivaldi's contemporary and compatriot Giovanni Guido, also known as Giovanni Antonio. Ironically it may be true that Guido's was actually the earlier work, by perhaps as much as five years, and a source of inspiration for Vivaldi. 

It must be said that Guido does not reach the same lofty levels of invention as Vivaldi, yet his Four Seasons, atmospheric and beautifully written, amount to more than a mere change of air or scene. Certain passages and flourishes can momentarily fool the listener into thinking these are actually Vivaldi's Seasons, but Guido notably incorporates French elements into the Italianate, recalling perhaps Corelli at times. His title is translated as Musical Divertissements on the Four Seasons of the Year, and like Vivaldi's was published with a set of (anonymous) poems, The Characters of the Seasons.  

No explanation is offered in the accompanying booklet or on Divine Art's website as to why this 2004 account has taken eight years to reach publication. By coincidence, what is possibly the only other recording also appeared in 2004, with Federico Guglielmo's l'Arte dell'Arco ostensibly performing Vivaldi's and Guido's Four Seasons side by side, on CPO (777 037-2). That was a single disc, which thus suggests a logistic impossibility, given that the Vivaldi typically runs to 40-45 minutes. Indeed, l'Arte dell'Arco are unfeasibly quicker in the Guido: 7:10 for Spring, 3:33 for Summer, 4:04 Autumn and 2:55 for Winter. This contemporary review, which incidentally gives a now superseded birthdate of c.1650 for Guido, considers this work a mere fantasy on Vivaldi's, written "after 1733". Whether Giuglielmo omitted material or more had recently been discovered by Roger Hamilton and co is not clear, but certainly the CPO recording cannot be compared to the present one.
 
Undistinguished though The Band of Instruments may be by name, when it comes to performance, they are more than a match for l'Arte dell'Arco. Lead violinist Caroline Balding aside, the ensemble consists of two violins, a cello, contrabass and harpsichord. According to New Grove Guido's concertos are scored for three violins, flutes, oboes, harpsichord, viola and cello, which suggests that the Band of Instruments have departed somewhat fromGuido's intentions. Nonetheless, the results are effective and persuasive, suavely directed by Hamilton from his unobtrusive harpsichord.
 
Sound quality is fairly exemplary - pellucid and spacious, yet still warm and intimate. The English-French notes are concise rather than expansive, but they are informative and well written and include the full texts of the poems 'set' by Guido, albeit in French only and perversely not laid out in playing order.
 
Alas, little of Guido's music has survived, although all hope is not lost: as he disappeared from historical records after 1728, he may yet resurface in some dusty archive, along with a bundle of manuscripts. Meanwhile, whilst no one with any musical sensitivity should ever tire of listening regularly to Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Guido's own memorable account deserves its own place on playlists and in recital halls.
 
Byzantion
Collected reviews and contact at artmusicreviews.co.uk