Containing over 50 concertos and sonatas which effectively trace the first 3 quarters of Vivaldis career, this fantastic 9CD box set presents a fitting tribute to one of the most celebrated Baroque composers of the instrumental style.
The collection begins with the Trio Sonatas of Op.1, closely modelled on two sets of chamber (i.e. dance) sonatas by Corelli. Although this former tutors voice is discernible, it is Vivaldis which is the more distinct, and as we continue onto works such as La Stravaganza a name which refers to the extravagant structural and expressive details scattered throughout the set and the beautifully crafted violin sonatas of Op.5, a more individual style comes to the fore.
Out of all the works on the recording, however, it is the Four Seasons an early example of programme music, and Vivaldis most famous creation that demands the highest level of virtuosity from the soloist. Sensitively performed here by the players of I Solisti di Milano, it leads to the affective cello sonatas of Op.12 which conclude the compilation. Rich in strong gestures and memorable phrases, this 9CD collection will provide hours of pleasurable listening and is a must-buy for the Baroque connoisseur.