Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Highly recommended Vivaldi


Once you get to volume 4 of any comprehensive recording project you hope that the quality of the music can remain fairly high, and that the musicians aren’t just there to check off a number of pieces on their way to completion. No worries on the composition side: Vivaldi was exceptionally prolific, it’s true, but his music, to my ears at least, is always interesting and often inspired. The inspiration shows up even at this stage in the project, though many of the pieces were written for particular situations, and I would imagine often on short notice. Like Bach, Vivaldi was a practical musician whose genius shone through Monday to Sunday. Though this music slips into operatic tropes often, underlying the music is a strong sense of devotion. Vivaldi was an ordained priest and a highly religious person. As for the musicians, Kevin Mallon and his Aradia Ensemble are prolific themselves, having recorded 50 albums for Naxos. But I find this CD as fresh and energetic and musically accomplished as the best ones in their discography. Speaking of which, I highly recommend Mallon’s Samuel Arnold and Marc-Antoine Charpentier discs from Naxos. But back to this Vivaldi disc: the Aradia Ensemble is first rate as always, and the Aradia Chorus is excellent in the Laudate Dominum and In Exitu Israel. The two soloists, Claire De Sevigne and Maria Soulis, demonstrate virtuoso technique and a strong sense of drama, but also show taste and musicianship. This disc and the previous three are highly recommended.

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