mercoledì 1 ottobre 2014

Antonio Vivaldi - Concertos for the Emperor

18 tracks - MP3 192 Kbps - RAR 132 Mb

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Andrew Manze revisits Vivaldi with this compendium of six concertos written for Charles VI. It's an unusual collection: like the more famous Op. 9 concertos nicknamed "La Cetra", these six, taken from a larger set of 12 concertos, bear the same nickname. Never published (and offered here in reconstructed form), these works are full of strange harmonies and unsettling melodies. As Manze muses in his liner notes, it's quite possible that these concertos simply may have been too daring for publication. (Even today, these concertos might well prick the ears of those looking for gentle Baroque background music.)

Manze's scholarship and careful study are as fine as ever, leading to some surprising choices. RV 271, for example, is nicknamed "L'Amoroso", so Manze & Co. have dropped the harpsichord continuo in favor of the "lover's instrument", the baroque guitar. But the great fun here is to be found in the playing; Manze and the English Concert are firebrands who simply torch these scores, and this is one thrilling recording.

Some listeners might not like these players' rawness and grit, which is evident from the very first measures of the opening Concerto No. 2. Manze improvises cadenzas for three of these concertos that are as wild--and as far from prim-and-proper Baroque-isms--as one could imagine. The fast movements are truly breathtaking, building to a heart-stopping climax in the C minor concerto's final movement. (The culmination of that Allegro non molto is so agitating, and so exhilarating, that I played that movement three or four times in a row before I could bring myself to move on to the rest of the disc.) But when Vivaldi calls for lyrical sweetness, Manze is as delicate as can be, such as in the Concerto No. 7's dolorous Largo. The sound is close and true-to-life, and the resulting recording is a must-hear.

– Anastasia Tsioulcas,


1. Concerto No. 2 in C major, RV 189
2. Concerto No. 10 in E Major, "L'Amoroso", RV 271
3. Concerto No. 3 in C minor, RV 202
4. Concerto No. 7 "La Cetra" in C major, RV 183
5. Concerto No. 11 in E minor, "Il favorito", RV 277
6. Concerto No. 4 in F Major, "S.Lorenzo
, RV 286

Andrew Manze, violin

The English Concert
dir. Andrew Manze

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