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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the rest - The best of the best
Yes... the Penguin Guide's recommendation is spot on. You need look no further for vitality and sheer enthusiasm without going too over the top. This really is a demonstration version to treasure.
Published on 12 Jan. 2008 by fallingforstars

versus
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Musicianship=5 stars, pictorialism=3 stars
Dear Vivaldi lovers, please forgive me for disagreeing that this touted "classic" Marriner/ASMF is the best Vivaldi Seasons of all time. It may have been the first version I heard, but despite its impeccable musicality I found it lacking in pictorialism.

Yes, Marriner and the Academy provide a velvet carpet for Alan Loveday's clean, articulate violin-playing...
Published on 17 Jun. 2007 by Yi-Peng


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the rest - The best of the best, 12 Jan. 2008
By 
fallingforstars (West Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vivaldi: The Four Seasons etc (DECCA The Originals) (Audio CD)
Yes... the Penguin Guide's recommendation is spot on. You need look no further for vitality and sheer enthusiasm without going too over the top. This really is a demonstration version to treasure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This really is very special, 15 Oct. 2011
By 
Bacchus (Greater London - Surrey) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Vivaldi: The Four Seasons etc (DECCA The Originals) (Audio CD)
There are countless recordings of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, from plush symphonic recordings by Karajan and Stokowski to the most lively early music performances as well as the virtuoso vehicles for players like Itzhak Perlman and Nigel Kennedy. This might be described as middle of the road in approach, but it is anything but middling in quality.

This is the recording that heralded the Academy of St Martin in the Fields as incredibly successful recording outfit. I am astonished listening to it again at how wonderful it is. It is lively, perceptive, beguiling on the ear and fantastically creative. I am struck especially by the continuo playing (both on harpsichord and on organ) of Simon Preston.

I think most CD collections should have more than one recording of this amazing (and quite revolutionary) piece. I would say that this recording should be always be one of them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite rendition of Four Seasons, 21 July 2011
This review is from: Vivaldi: The Four Seasons etc (DECCA The Originals) (Audio CD)
I heard this version of Four Seasons in the late 1970s and have loved it ever since. It is not always easy to find in the US, so I first purchased several other acclaimed versions of the Four Seasons. I was very happy to find this one at Amazon UK and purchased it. And as I played it, I again agreed with Penguin, this is the best or one of the very best renditions of Vivaldi's classic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars four seasons, 4 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Vivaldi: The Four Seasons etc (DECCA The Originals) (Audio CD)
I`d heard great reviews of this recording and I agree it is the best version I have heard . No heavy drama with this but an uplifting and more delicate musicality. it really is quite beautiful .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful stuff, 21 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Vivaldi: The Four Seasons etc (DECCA The Originals) (Audio CD)
I puchased this to replace a tape I chose this perticular one because st martin in the fields is the best lovely music from vivaldi plus I liked the extra music that is on the same CD.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Musicianship=5 stars, pictorialism=3 stars, 17 Jun. 2007
By 
Yi-Peng (Singapore) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Vivaldi: The Four Seasons etc (DECCA The Originals) (Audio CD)
Dear Vivaldi lovers, please forgive me for disagreeing that this touted "classic" Marriner/ASMF is the best Vivaldi Seasons of all time. It may have been the first version I heard, but despite its impeccable musicality I found it lacking in pictorialism.

Yes, Marriner and the Academy provide a velvet carpet for Alan Loveday's clean, articulate violin-playing. His rhythms are crisply sprung and well-suited to the dancelike sections of the work, especially the opening movements of Spring and Autumn. Yes, Simon Preston engages in a lively dialogue between continuo and orchestra with his harpsichord and organ-playing (just listen to the Bartokian eerieness of the opening of Winter), yet it seems to deflect attention to himself when we should be more focussed on the overall character of the music (i.e. we must imagine the natural environment that Vivaldi was trying to depict).

This is where my good words about this performance end. The weakness of Loveday's musicianship is that often in this performance we finds that he plays it safe, and the most pictorial passages (eg the summer storm, the tipsy drunkard in Autumn) sound rather tame. Yes, his runs are articulate and clear, but somewhat detached from the sonnets that Vivaldi wrote for this work. But he still produces a velvety tone from his instrument and is at his best in the slow movements of the concertos, especially the romantic slow movement of Winter. The Academy clearly has a great time with the music, and its musicianship offers many felicities, but is somewhat tame too, especially during the hunting finale of Autumn, treated squarely as a courtly dance rather than a vigorous passage that stimulates the imagination.

My choice recommendation for a modern-instrument Vivaldi Seasons would be the DG recording by Gil Shaham and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. His fiddling is the right mix of the virtuosic and the lyrical, and his collaboration with the Orpheus musicians allows us to hear them rediscover the music as if it were a tone poem. Yet at the same time my ultra-definitive recommendation is Standage's DG Archiv version with Pinnock. Yes, their instruments sound strange and off-key to our untrained ears, but there is gusto and life in this performance, and they are more trusting of the pictorialism in Vivaldi's music.

In short, yes, I do not dispute the musicality of this performance but I beg to differ from the Penguin Guide and Gramophone on whether this is the best version. For those who want to hear the music in its glory, do consider this, but for those who want a pictorial version of the work, Shaham and Pinnock are worth considering.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best!, 25 Sept. 2013
By 
E. Sageng "Elsa" (Norway) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vivaldi: The Four Seasons etc (DECCA The Originals) (Audio CD)
I guess what you heard and grew up with as a child, often will be considered "the best recording ever". This is my best recording! I have several very good recordings at home, but no one beats this :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as the original vinyl sound and better value!, 2 July 2013
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This review is from: Vivaldi: The Four Seasons etc (DECCA The Originals) (Audio CD)
I have long-treasured the original vinyl issue of this lovely performance. At last it is available on CD with excellent sound and some Vivaldi wind conceros not on the original release. Splendid!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Different but even better than I remembered, 25 Oct. 2014
By 
Mr. Pj Martin - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vivaldi: The Four Seasons etc (DECCA The Originals) (Audio CD)
About 40 years ago, I "borrowed" my Mum's copy of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra version and it was a late-night student bedroom favourite. In a fit of nostalgia, I fancied hearing it again but with decent sound-quality. This version has the virtue of of being from pretty much the same era but is a classy performance with ASMiF's vitality and sound. It's a bit like seeing a favourite painting after loving restoration - different but even better than you remembered.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic music at its best, 9 April 2013
By 
John Buchanan "John Buchanan" (Kent England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vivaldi: The Four Seasons etc (DECCA The Originals) (Audio CD)
An easy listen which harmoniously begged for more The four seasons were captivated and empirically expressed by Vivaldi's composition. A Masterpiece
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