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
Classical Editor in Chief: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

 


tenor and baritone


RECORDING OF THE MONTH
A very fine achievement


Complete ballet


Orchestral Music


music that will please greatly


Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear


vital imagination


Henrik HELLSTENIUS
A harum-scarum springboard


Always expect the unexpected

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
Arcodiva
Atoll 10% off
CDAccord
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Hortus
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sheva £2 off
Sheva Contemporary
Sterling 10% off
Toccata Classics


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

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
The Four Seasons
Spring [9:63]
Summer [11:01]
Autumn [11:20]
Winter [8:47]
Concerto in D RV 171 [9:09]
Concerto in B minor “Conca”, RV 163 [3:16]
Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi (violin; conductor)
rec. 1991, Graz, Austria
NAÏVE LA COLLECTION NC40018 [54:13]

Naïve have selected sixteen reference recordings from their back catalogue and re-packaged them (at budget price) as recordings that make a good way into their repertoire. They’re marketed as La Collection and you’ll find a full list of the discs here. If this Four Seasons re-release is anything to go by then they’ve got the packaging just about right. The slim-line case contains a fold-out leaflet with a brief introduction to the music, a glossary of musical terms and a collection of other information to make you feel at home in the music. There’s some historical context about Vivaldi’s life, some things to listen out for and suggestions for further listening. In this disc they also published the complete sonnets that the composer (probably) wrote to accompany the concertos. It’s all very accessible and so makes this a good recording with which to introduce someone to the works.
 
The performances themselves are very good and well worth revisiting. The notes inform me that this was Europa Galante’s first recording and that with it Fabio Biondi was one of the very first to reinstate the number of performers that Vivaldi would most likely have had at his disposal, together with period instruments and historically informed performance practice. In many ways the disc still sounds fresh and newly minted. The buoyancy of Spring and Autumn, and the generally upbeat speeds are refreshing and the playing is never less than excellent. As with all these things, however, the innovative eventually becomes the new orthodoxy and what struck me most forcefully is just how widely Europa Galante’s style has now been adopted by other groups. This may have been fresh in 1991, but it’s now pretty much the new norm for Vivaldi. To my ears, then, these recordings actually struck me as fairly “safe” and unscary. Perhaps that’s a tribute to the scale of Biondi’s achievement, though. Only in Winter do they really seem daring, with violin playing that has an audacious sense of vibrato and an exciting ability to use tone colour to evoke a landscape. Still, that makes them all the more recommendable for the newcomer. Both as a document of performance practice and as a worthwhile musical experience, this disc still stands up very well.
 
Simon Thompson