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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific BUT the 7 disc set also includes the opus 4 and the remaining opus 8 concertos not included here
This is certainly a tempting bargain box and contains MOST of the Vivaldi discs that Pinnock has made for DGG. Pinnock and his excellent colleagues in The English Consort plus various soloists have been remarkably consistent in delivering performances of impeccable Baroque style throughout the whole series. That is a considerable achievement. These include the complete...
Published 12 months ago by I. Giles

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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Superb but there is now even more superb
I can imagine the outraged disgust on the faces of previous reviewers when they see I have not given this set a full complement of 5 stars. Whilst agreeing wholeheartedly with the praise heaped upon this set, I can only give it 3 stars.

Why? Because I have just found a newer Pinnock set entitled "Vivaldi: Stravaganza 55 Concertos" which has 7 CDs instead of 5,...
Published 12 months ago by Music addict


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific BUT the 7 disc set also includes the opus 4 and the remaining opus 8 concertos not included here, 1 Jan 2014
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This is certainly a tempting bargain box and contains MOST of the Vivaldi discs that Pinnock has made for DGG. Pinnock and his excellent colleagues in The English Consort plus various soloists have been remarkably consistent in delivering performances of impeccable Baroque style throughout the whole series. That is a considerable achievement. These include the complete sets of opus 3, opus 8 and opus 10 plus a good selection of other miscellaneous concertos.

However, there is an even better buy and that is the 7 disc set which crucially also includes the otherwise unavailable excellent set of the opus 4 set 'La Stravaganza' as well as the 12 concertos of opus 8 including 'The Four Seasons.' That set offers a real alternative to Rachel Podgers excellent account of the opus 4 set which favours a larger acoustic and a more assertive playing style. The lack of the opus 8 set is also a very sad loss to this boxed edition.

However, to give more than a general summary for those still interested in this much reduced option, a selection of previous individual disc reviews are included below for more detailed assessment.

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Opus 3 L'Estro Armonico

I have owned this set for over 20 years now and have never tired of hearing it - a sure guide to long-lasting quality.

Since 1987 there has been a revolution in Vivaldi playing led by some notably wonderful Italian groups and soloists. Generally they have taken a dramatic, free-wheeling approach to Vivaldi and at markedly up-tempo speeds. The dynamic and emotional range and observation of accenting has become far more acute as a result.

BUT ..............

There is still no real substitute for this relatively plain and level-headed account played and recorded supremely well. If that sounds dull then the first paragraph above should be reassuring. This set oozes sheer musicianship at every level. The solo violin playing by Simon Standage, as always with this player, is a model of restrained display and sensitivity held in perfect balance.

In the concertos for several violins at the end of this set, he is joined by colleagues of the same calibre. This does not inhabit the same world of dramatic imagination and some extravaganza as can be heard in many of the more recent Italian sets, but it remains deeply satisfying and rewarding upon repeat hearing - not that i would wish to be without Biondi either for example.

I would therefore suggest that among the many pearls of Vivaldi's music available on disc today this still holds its metaphorical head up high. If the program appeals I would suggest that this disc warrants very serious consideration indeed.

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Opus 10 6 flute concertos

These six concertos, well recorded in 1985, feature the tranverse flute expertly played and in very good baroque style by Lisa Beznosiuk. These are not to be confused with the various recorder concertos.
These concertos also appear in other forms with different solo instruments and will therefore be familiar but not necessarily immediately recognised. The first three concertos, La tempesta di mare,' La notte and Il gardellino are the three known in other forms.

All six concertos make a satisfying whole as published and are played and recorded as well as the other discs led by Trevor Pinnock. The English Consort deliver both energetic and sympathetic supports as required. Only the last three of the concertos have claim to be the only versions of these six works but, as flute concertos, these are extremely well delivered by all concerned.

However .......

both 'Il gardellino' (goldfinch) and 'La notte' are also known as recorder concertos and 'il gardellino' in particular suits the recorder particularly well having more of a bird song characteristic about its natural timbre. The tempesta di mare' is also known as a concerto for solo recorder, oboe, bassoon and violin. Those versions can be heard on a disc led by Biondi and also as recorded by Amarillis. There is a further option on a disc by Rebel. All of these alternatives provide superb playing and recording and choice will be matter of personal preference. My suggestion for collectors of multiple versions is to buy them all as they offer different insights of equal value and satisfaction while being different in emphasis.

Once more, Pinnock offers the middle ground done to perfection and ideal for repeat listening but I would suggest that purchasing at least one of the recorded alternatives featuring the solo recorder as above would be a very worthwhile investment.

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Concerto selection - Alla rustica

This collection of miscellaneous concertos, well recorded in 1985, has been grouped together under the name of just one of them - alla rustica.' This seems a somewhat arbitrary title for the collection which may well have been chosen because of the more 'rustic' nature of the solo instruments featured as a whole.

The concertos nevertheless make for an interesting collection, and also make for a refreshing alternative to the many string based solo concertos otherwise available. In this case Philip Pickett and Rachel Becket are the chosen solo recorder players, Colin Lawson and Carlos Riera perform on the two chalumeau(x) and Simon Standage and Micaela Comberti play violin. In addition, mandolins are played by James Tyler and Robin Jeffrey, Anthony Pleeth plays cello and Nigel North and Jakob Lindberg perform on the two theorbos.

The above list has been supplied simply because it vividly demonstrates the sheer variety of sounds to be experienced and enjoyed on this collection of concertos. it will also go towards appreciating that those sounds will be more associated with rustic activities rather than more formal events.

The six concertos themselves are 'alla rustica;' oboe and violin; 'con molti stromenti;' 2 violins; oboe; 2 mandolins.

Every one of these concertos offers music of real interest as well as a cornucopia of sounds not in regular usage today. They also vividly illustrate Vivaldi's enormous imaginative breadth and technical understanding.

There is not a weak moment here and I would suggest that this disc makes a very attractive purchase option.

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L'amoroso collection of concertos

This well recorded set of six concertos from 1986 makes a companion to the 'alla rustica' set of six concertos from 1985. Once more the selection introduces instruments other than solo strings and this makes for an interesting alternative to the many violin concertos. The disc takes its name from that of the violin concerto.

On this disc the six chosen concertos are a concerti for strings; one for flute; one for bassoon; one for viola d'amore and lute; one for violin (l'amoroso); one for oboe and bassoon. This selection is not as 'rustically' chosen as in the previous disc but nevertheless affords considerable aural variety.

As before, all the instruments are expertly played and Pinnock ensures that all are played with engaging decorum. The English Consort provides its customary excellent support. The uniformally excellent soloists on this occasion are David Reichenberg on oboe, Milan Turkovic on bassoon, Lisa Beznosiuk on transverse flute, Simon Standage on violin, Roy Goodman on Viola d'amore and Nigel North on lute.

The concertos, as a group, are a vivid demonstration of the breadth of Vivaldi's imagination and technical resources and the disc is a further valuable addition to our growing understanding of this prolific and gifted composer.

I would suggest that this is yet another superb disc to tempt potential enthusiasts of Vivaldi's music.

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Concertos for various instruments

This well recorded set of six concertos from 1993 makes a companion to the 'alla rustica' and L'amoroso' sets of six concertos from 1985 and 1986. Once more the selection introduces instruments other than solo strings and this makes for an interesting alternative to the many violin concertos.

On this disc the six chosen concertos are 2 concerti for strings; one for oboe; one for bassoon; one for 2 violins and 2 cellos; one for recorder; one for violin, 2 recorder, and 2 oboes. This selection is not as 'rustically' chosen as in the previous disc but nevertheless affords considerable aural variety.

As before, all the instruments are expertly played and Pinnock ensures that all are played with engaging decorum. The English Consort provides its customary excellent support. The uniformally excellent soloists on this occasion are Paul Goodwin and Lorraine Wood on oboe, Alberto Grazzi on bassoon, Peter Holtslag and Catherine Latham on recorder, Peter Hanson and Walter Reiter on violin and Jane Coe and David Watkin on cello.

The concertos, as a group, are a vivid demonstration of the breadth of Vivaldi's imagination and technical resources and the disc is a further valuable addition to our growing understanding of this prolific and gifted composer.

I would suggest that this is yet another superb disc to tempt potential enthusiasts of Vivaldi's music.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Superb but there is now even more superb, 17 Dec 2013
I can imagine the outraged disgust on the faces of previous reviewers when they see I have not given this set a full complement of 5 stars. Whilst agreeing wholeheartedly with the praise heaped upon this set, I can only give it 3 stars.

Why? Because I have just found a newer Pinnock set entitled "Vivaldi: Stravaganza 55 Concertos" which has 7 CDs instead of 5, 171 tracks instead of 95, whilst still (as far as I can see) including all the tracks on this older set. Those bemoaning the wasted space on the older CDs and wanting more will have their wishes fulfilled. The price difference at the time of writing is only a pound or two.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB VIVALDI, 1 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Brilliant Box Set. Wonderful Music. Great recording.
Worth every penny paid, a BARGAIN at this price
BIG PLUS ITS VIVALDI!!!
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18 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Baroque and Roll!, 5 July 2004
A good mix of pieces, added to the fact this is the only set I could find which had all the l'estro armonico Op.3. Superb!
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Vivaldi: Concertos (5 CDs)
Vivaldi: Concertos (5 CDs) by The English Concert and Trevor Pinnock
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