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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant playing of very fine music, 7 Jun. 2012
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Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vivaldi: Cello Concerti, Vol. 2 (Audio CD)
This whole four-volume series of Vivaldi cello concerti is uniformly excellent. Vivaldi's writing in the cello concerti is less about the virtuosic fireworks of many of the violin concerti and, while no less demanding on the soloist, seems to me to be more like that in his vocal and choral works. There is plenty of excitement, but also a more melodic and contemplative feel in many places with the slow movements in particular often being very affecting. They are lovely, varied works which are the product of a real master and which give the lie to the jibe about Vivaldi having written the same concerto five hundred times. Full of harmonic and melodic invention, they are, I think, genuinely the work of a great composer.

Raphael Wallfisch, Nicholas Kraemer and the City of London Sinfonia play them superbly. There is a lightness and spring in their step where appropriate and a more intense, almost spiritual feel in places. Wallfisch is a terrific cellist and there is a fine understanding between soloist, conductor and orchestra. With excellent recorded sound by Naxos these are all-round excellent discs and at Naxos's budget price an unmissable bargain. Very warmly recommended.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic notes, 23 Nov. 2008
By 
Jon Chambers (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vivaldi: Cello Concerti, Vol. 2 (Audio CD)
Having just listened to CD Review on Radio 3, in which Vivaldi specialist Michael Talbot compared new issues of cello concertos featuring Han-Na Chang and Christophe Coin, it might be a good time to remind ourselves just how good a collection the Ralph Wallfisch/Naxos combination have made of Vivaldi's complete cello concertos. It is not only the most economical CD by a considerable margin but offers an interpretation that, in my opinion, often has the edge over the other two.

Talbot is an authority on C18 Italian music and one doesn't take issue with him lightly. He quite rightly berates Chang for over-indulgence - bringing Romantic sensibilities to bear upon a Baroque repertoire and exaggerating the contrasts between fast and slow movements. Talbot preferred Coin's more Historically Informed recording as being more authentic and less 'glitzy'. However, Coin's slow movement of the Concerto in Eb RV408, chosen to illustrate his point, demonstrated an attention-seeking tendency to over-embellish - despite Talbot's description of the solist as conservative and artistically introspective! Wallfisch is, for me, the genuine article - a highly accomplished performer who puts a respect for Vivaldi's written score before his own creative needs. Rather than the Naive label providing the definitive 'reference' recording for these cello concertos, therefore, it is Wallfisch and the humble Naxos label that set the standard.

Compositionally, the cello concertos account for some of the real highlights of Vivaldi's monumental output. More interesting than the series written for bassoon (the other lower register instrument for which he wrote a substantial concerto repertoire) we may well expect gems on this CD - like the slow movement of RV408 already referred to, the Concerto in c RV401 and the Concerto in g for two cellos, RV531 (where Wallfisch is partnered by Shuna Wilson). My only reservation about this CD is a comparative lack of depth in the recording. The continuo section boasts harpsichord, chamber organ and lute and isn't without varied and interesting colours, therefore. But it lacks the obvious (if occasionally overdone) punch of the new Chang CD (EMI/LCO). Ultimately, however, this is an easy 5 star award. There is nothing of the prima donna about Wallfisch's fine set of performances.
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Vivaldi: Cello Concerti, Vol. 2
Vivaldi: Cello Concerti, Vol. 2 by Antonio Vivaldi (Audio CD - 1999)
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