My immediate response to finding this set was "surely we don't need *another* blooming Four Seasons" (I paraphrase) but I was quite wrong. This is an excellent recording which to me breathes new life into these concertos and reminds us what masterpieces they are. There is a depth and musicality about this set which really allows Vivaldi's greatness to shine through, and no hint of either coasting through for an unoriginal but saleable disc, nor of sacrificing the music to showcase individual virtuosity. Plenty of thought and love has gone into this and it shows in the flow and variety of the music and the genuine engagement of the musicians throughout the twelve concerti. The variation of the continuo instrument between concerti helps even more. Opus 8 comprises twelve concerti with six on each disc here and, very unusually for a set of Vivaldi violin concerti, I found I was able to play an entire disc without it ever sounding samey - a real tribute to the performance, I think.
Although the virtuosity is unobtrusive it is there in abundance. Pavlo Beznosiuk is a wonderful violinist and breezes through the pyrotechnics with ease, putting his skill to the service of the music rather than using it to draw attention to himself. He also brings thought, insight and genuine beauty to many passages and is matched by the players of the ensemble who are universally excellent, showing passion, serenity and wit as appropriate.
The recorded sound is wonderful - full, rich and immediate - the presentation is very attractive and the whole effect of this disc is a delight. If you want a set which reminds you why Vivaldi is a truly great composer and also reminds you of the real merit of some works about which you may have become thoroughly jaundiced, I can recommend this very warmly.
on 20 February 2013
Really enjoyable double SACD. Has joined my collection of several versions of the Four Seasons (all period ensembles, of course, no Nigel Kennedy, here). Tempi are, of course, very much a matter of taste; some like them faster and some like them slower. A few of the newer releases are a bit too fast for my taste, seeming to leave the beauty of the music behind in their attempts to be faster than all the others. This is NOT the case with this version; it is relaxed and full of expression, and the lovely sound of the multi-channel recording complements this nicely - Highly recommended, especially at this price.
on 11 March 2012
A perfect recording of a wonderful performance of the much loved "Four Seasons" and the rest of Opus 8. This one is much less about the virtuosity of the violinist than the famous Nigel Kennedy production. I am sure that Vivaldi would have been proud of this beautiful recording.
I had been planning to download this, but the CD cover alone is worth having, and the booklet is a really useful introduction to Vivaldi and the Concerti Opus 8. Even if you have another recording, buy this one!