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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Continuing the fine series of violin concertos on the Naive label
This disc, well recorded in 2006, is the second set of violin concertos within the Vivaldi edition produced by Naive. The intention is to record all the Vivaldi scores held in the Turin Library. These constitute Vivaldi's private collection and include some 15 operas, several hundred concertos and a considerable amount of vocal music amounting to about 450 works. Many of...
Published 17 months ago by I. Giles

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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Empty showmanship
'La sfida' is Italian for 'challenge'. The six concerti on this CD are linked in that they all pose particular technical challenges to the soloist - here, Anton Steck. The final allegro of RV264, for instance, relies for its effect on very fast arpeggios spanning all four strings. RV243, meanwhile, is marked 'senza cantin', without the top (E) string. The soloist is...
Published on 3 Mar 2008 by Jon Chambers


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Continuing the fine series of violin concertos on the Naive label, 19 May 2013
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I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vivaldi: Violin Concertos Vol. 2 (Audio CD)
This disc, well recorded in 2006, is the second set of violin concertos within the Vivaldi edition produced by Naive. The intention is to record all the Vivaldi scores held in the Turin Library. These constitute Vivaldi's private collection and include some 15 operas, several hundred concertos and a considerable amount of vocal music amounting to about 450 works. Many of these are currently unknown to the general public.

The final collection is likely to number about 100 discs and is due to be completed in 2015. Another feature of the collection is the concentration on a very wide range of performers and ensembles with very little repetition of personnel. In this regard, the standard maintained has so far been astonishingly high and the sheer quantity of musicians involved at that level has also been astonishing.

This disc is a good example, as the ensemble Modo Antiquo, established in 1984, has achieved an enviable reputation at the forefront of this period of music. The soloist, Anton Steck, also has a reputation as an oustanding 'period' violinist. The theme of the disc, the second in the series of violin concertos, is focussed on seven works grouped under the title of 'Di sfida', and are openly virtuosic in their considerable demands. These demands are fully met here but the music is more showy in intent than that to be found in the Four Seasons for example.

As part of the complete survey of Vivaldi violin concertos this is an important issue and will be an essential purchase for collectors interested in the complete series. However, for those looking for a more limited range, I would suggest that the are less obviously virtuosic discs in the series that might offer more musical satisfaction. Violinists will probably find this disc mind-bending in effect.

I would suggest that this disc will therefore likely appeal mostly to violinists simply on technical grounds. Others may wish to explore discs 1, 2, 3 and 5 in the series before this with other satisfactions in mind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible virtuosity, 17 May 2013
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This review is from: Vivaldi: Violin Concertos Vol. 2 (Audio CD)
This is Vol.II in the Naive 'Violin' Series, but blows the others away in terms of sheer virtuosity. I'm no violinist myself but all of the movements come across as incredibly difficult to play. That Steck delivers effortlessly on all of the technical demands, tells you everything you need to know about the virtuosity on show. (it would be very good to hear a practising violinist's opinion on these matters)

Unfortunately, it is perhaps for the reason of astonishing virtuosity, that the volume has been unfavourably compared with the other 4. Personally I think the view unwarranted, and have no hesitation myself in giving Vol.II 5 stars - enjoyed every minute.

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Separately: I understand the next disc in the Naive (Violin) run will be out in December '13. Featuring Vivaldi Double Concertos with violinists Dmitry Sinkovsky and Riccardo Minasi - an exciting prospect
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Empty showmanship, 3 Mar 2008
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Jon Chambers (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vivaldi: Violin Concertos Vol. 2 (Audio CD)
'La sfida' is Italian for 'challenge'. The six concerti on this CD are linked in that they all pose particular technical challenges to the soloist - here, Anton Steck. The final allegro of RV264, for instance, relies for its effect on very fast arpeggios spanning all four strings. RV243, meanwhile, is marked 'senza cantin', without the top (E) string. The soloist is consequently forced to reach the upper notes using the A string in the 9th position - getting close to the bridge, in other words. Steck manages all of this without too much fuss. But the question remains: why bother? As an audition piece to see if the soloist has the necessary virtuosity, perhaps. But what is the reward for the listener, especially today when digital sound engineering can mask many a flaw? According to the booklet, these high positions on the lower strings produce a 'dense, muffled timbre ... redolent of the misty lagoon'. A poetic idea, perhaps, but not clearly discernible on my equipment.

For me, these concerti show Vivaldi (an immensely prolific, inventive and inspired composer) at his most showy and his least musical, in works that are, frankly, the complete opposite of those that feature in the excellent Volume 1. Thematically and harmonically, there is little to engage the listener (with the sole exception of the Concerto in g, RV325). If you like repeated passages of rapid, demi-semi-quavers, this could be for you. Otherwise, it will probably seem like virtuosity for virtuosity's sake.
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Vivaldi: Violin Concertos Vol. 2
Vivaldi: Violin Concertos Vol. 2 by Anton Steck (Audio CD - 2008)
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