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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspired recreation, 23 Dec 2012
By 
Jon Chambers (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
There have been two releases of 'new' Vivaldi works recently, New Discoveries Volume 2, and this, Orlando furioso, 1714. More accurately, the opera is a new attribution, having previously been considered the work of the young composer Giovanni Alberto Ristori.

With so much mystery surrounding the opera, there is still a whiff of the spurious about the new offering. Several arias are missing from the manuscript housed in Turin. More are incomplete. The whole of Act III has been lost. Surely, then, this recreation is more to do with musicology than music, and more Sardelli than Vivaldi?

As ever, Sardelli makes a very clear and convincing case in his notes which accompany the recording. He didn't want to burden the world, he says, with another pasticcio, and so rejected the idea of re-creating the third act. Those arias that are taken wholesale from the Vivaldi operas which pre-date this score (Ottone in villa and Orlando finto pazzo) were recycled by the composer himself, with one single exception. Where the music is supplied by Sardelli, filling in for the missing vocal and melodic lines, Sardelli argues that the only other viable alternative was to abandon the fragments altogether. And anyway, he says, 'in this case, the fragmentation was horizontal, not vertical: what was missing was not whole blocks of music but a few lines of a composition that had survived in part.' Perhaps he is being slightly disingenuous here. 'A few lines' refers, after all, to musical parts rather than bars. What has survived is often no more than the basso continuo part and the first few bars of melody.

Despite reservations, this CD has to represent one of the triumphs of recent times in Baroque music. As both performer and music scholar, Sardelli is a thoroughly assured Vivaldian and there can't be anyone better equipped than he is to divine the composer's intentions.

Two great regrets for me in 2012 were (despite being in France for practically the whole year!) missing the climax of the Tour de France, and missing the Beaune Festival of Baroque Music, where this Vivaldi opera received its world premiere. Luckily, the current CDs capture the essence of what was missed last July. And while the opera does not match Vivaldi's best in this genre (it is not La fida ninfa, for example), it is spirited and engaging nonetheless. From the very first tracks of CD 1 (which feature the rarely heard Sinfonia RV781, contemporaneous with this opera and probably written as an overture) it gives an illuminating insight into Vivaldi's early years as an opera composer and, at the same time, a superb example of inspired musicianship on the part of Sardelli, Delaméa et al. A very worthy release from Naive.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful discovery!, 1 Mar 2013
In his introduction to the booklet notes, Federico Maria Sardelli, puts forward a strong and decisive case for why this opera should be seen as an original work by Vivaldi and therefore moved from the spurious works (RV Anh. 84) and entered into full catalogue of works. He builds on earlier research before going on to explain how he has had to reconstruct some sections of the opera and why he has refused to re-compose the missing third act. This is a well researched argument and whatever you think, with a performance as good is this, it is a worthy addition to any collection.
I have a few recordings in the Naïve Vivaldi Edition, but the only opera in the series I have is of the 1727 version of the same libretto, which while one of Vivaldi's best known operas, is also one of the most underrated. Yes, this does lead to similarities, after all which composer of the period did not recycle earlier material, but these are distant echoes with the opera on the whole sounding new and fresh.
The performance is one to savour, with all the vocalists giving a spirited performance of this effective performance. If I were to single one singer out it would be Roberta Mameli, who positively sparkles in the all too short role of Astolfo, just listen to her Act 2 aria Ah, fuggi rapido and, like me, you will be wishing that she had more to sing! The instrumentalists too are in fine form and breathe new life into this old music, and all under the expert direction of Federico Maria Sardelli, who proves that he is a lot more than an academic.
The booklet notes are excellent and it is recorded in a pleasingly natural and sympathetic acoustic, making this a most recommendable set. If you have the Naïve recording of the 1727 version of Orlando Furioso and you are dithering over whether to invest in this recording, well dither no more, buy this new recording, it has some really effective and pleasing music and you won't be disappointed!
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Vivaldi: Orlando 1714
Vivaldi: Orlando 1714 by Federico Maria Sardelli / Modo Antiquo
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