Each of the Vivaldi Edition's (the Vivaldi Edition is a project to record all pieces found in the composer's personal archive in Turin) discs of Violin concertos have a theme. The theme of this disc is 'For Pisendel'. Pisendel was one of the great virtuosos of the first half of the 18th century. He studied with Vivaldi in 1716 and perhaps a year or so later. These lessons were informal, as Vivaldi seemed to view the German as a colleague. But Vivaldi did show Pisendel some things on the violin and gave him lessons in composition. Part of their friendship and personal relationship was that Pisendel had many Vivaldi scores dedicated for his use (per Pisendel) or he was allowed to copy works that interested him and bring them back to Germany. This recording has both dedicated works and the ones which were copied by Pisendel.
The part of Pisendel on this disc is played by violinist Dmitry Sinkovsky. He has a fresh sound and a strong, even wild virtuosity. In an attempt to live up the the reputation of a famous virtuoso of the past so respected by Vivaldi, Sinkovsky adds small cadenzas of his own to many of the works. The orchestra, Il Pomo D'Oro sounds good here and blends somewhat better than on the L'Imperatore disc, although it could still compete for attention with the soloist more, tonally and stylistically. Over all, it is a great disc bringing together difficult, high-quality works and presenting an excellent Baroque violinist I've not heard before. Works Included are:
Concerto in C RV 177. This work dates from after 1730, and is in Vivaldi's strange late style. This shows that Pisendel had an active interest in Vivaldi's music even at this late date, and that somehow they were in contact enough for him to receive scores. This performance is a less polished but fun addition to Carmignola's version, although here the 3rd movement tempo is taken too slowly.
Concerto in D RV 212a. Vivaldi composed this work for himself to preform at the 1712 feast of St. Anthony, and it includes several written cadenzas. Pisendel's interest in the pure virtuosity of the work is understandable, and it is possible that Vivaldi 'updated' the work for him. The 'a' version has a more modern and lyrical sonata-style slow movement, while the old version has a more recitative style slow movement (as does RV 208 from the same period). You could call RV 212 the Vivaldi version (see Adrian Chandler) and 212a the Pisendel version.
Concerto in d minor RV 246. Pisendel seems to have shared Vivaldi's dramatic flair on the violin and had a fondness for minor keys. This work has a dark, rugged feel and uses double stopping freely.
Concerto in B flat RV 370. The liner notes state that the dating of this work is problematic, but estimates that it's from the first half of the 1720's. Adrian Chandler (who already recorded this piece) seems to think it dates from around 1716 (or before), when Pisendel was visiting Venice. I'm inclined the go along with this based on several factors. Either way, it is a showy, well written piece with a place to pause for a cadenza.
Concerto in d minor RV 242. Even though this work dates from around 1716, it made Vivaldi's cut for Opus 8 (1725). Perhaps he was fond of it, or maybe that inclusion was a nod to Pisendel. The last movement is a study in double stopping, a technique which appealed greatly to Pisendel.
Concerto in B flat RV 379. Based on the language, this work, published in Opus 12, is later than most associated with Pisendel. The feel of the work is classically Vivaldian, with aggressively joyful mood and rhythmic vitality. The opening solo starts with a great hook.
Concerto in g minor RV 328. There is a fiery side to the melancholy when Vivaldi writes in g minor. This piece is a perfect example, being dark and depressed, but containing moments of anger. It certainly is something that would appeal to Pisendel, who enjoyed introspection as a refuge from display.