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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tour de force, 5 Mar. 2008
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This review is from: Vivaldi: Concerti per violini I 'La caccia' (Audio CD)
A highly imaginative production, combining genuine creative engagement from performers together with some of Vivaldi's better-known and more inspired compositions for violin - all are either from his published collections or have descriptive soubriquets.

Enrico Onofri slides along the strings to evoke an oriental flavour in 'Grosso Mogul'. Bows are smacked like riding whips in 'La Caccia' (The Hunt). 'Il Riposo' (Rest) features a harp solo at the beginning of the Adagio, suggesting the mystery of dreams. 'Il Sospetto' (The Suspect) begins with a menacing sotto voce. In such ways do the instrumentalists bring their creative sensibilities to bear upon works which are hardly 'terra incognito' - despite what the booklet might have us believe. A rich basso continuo comprises theorbo, archlute and harp alongside the more conventional forces of lower strings and harpsichord. Apparently, the ensemble were guided in their 'extravagant' continuo selection by the writings of Francesco Gasparini - a contemporary of Vivaldi's.

A real plus of this CD is the highly informative booklet, which details not just the instruments and players, but the individual concerti in which they feature. The scholarly approach continues with an essay by the soloist, for whom the music he's playing is clearly a major research interest. Onofri discerns xenophobic animosity in Vivaldi's mocking portrayal of the Ottoman east and the almost schizophrenic torment of someone torn by suspicion and doubt in 'L'inquietudine' (Anxiety). Considerable thought informs performances which offer evocative new angles without ever diverting attention from what is often superb music. (Close attention to the last bar of 'Il Riposo', for example, will reveal what sounds like a downward dragging on fingerboards as the music fades - suggesting a descent into nightmare?) This CD deserves attentive listening and frequent replaying to appreciate what is a detailed and multi-faceted interpretation.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Jon Chambers
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: Birmingham, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,776