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Simply Staggering Vivaldi!,
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This review is from: Vivaldi: Four Seasons & Concertos RV257, 376 & 211 (Audio CD)
Let me say at once that I truly love and adore Baroque music, but I'm not in the least enthusiastic about "authentic period" performances played on "authentic period" instruments.
The majority of such "authentic" offerings - from Bach to Beethoven - have always struck me as being hopelessly self-conscious, pretentious and exceedingly insecure. I am convinced that J. S. Bach would have loved the modern concert grand piano and after hearing this mighty instrument bring forth the glories of his Partitas, Suites and Keyboard Concertos, he would surely have set his harpsichord alight and danced around the pyre as the flames consumed the instrument of utter mediocrity (my deepest sympathies to those who still consider the harpsichord, the lute, or the Baroque viola suitable instruments for the 21st Century concert hall)...
...Or such was my fervent belief until I purchased - with some little trepidation - this "authentic period everything" recording of Vivaldi's undisputed 17th Century masterpiece. I can honestly say that I was shocked by my own reaction: Here, finally, was a truly sublime Baraoque period instrument performance that was completely devoid of insecure self-consciousness and high-born snobbery that simply seared its way into the depths of my heart and soul!
Not to put too fine a point on it, this is staggering stuff, flying straight in the face of 70 years of Vivaldi performance tradition. In the blink of an eye, I had to redefine ALL my cherished notions of what constituted a "proper" performance of Baroque music. To say that this performance lives and breathes and exudes swaggering self assurance is only the beginning; there's real life-blood here, red and pulsating, and a sound-world that will linger on in your mind until lesser "modern instrument" recordings seem to pale and wither by comparison.
To Carmignola & Company, I simply say, "I stand corrected!"
So, here's to thinking twice about obliterating our harpsichords and trampling our lutes and violas merrily underfoot. NAY, in the hands of such masterful musicians as these, and there is more than divine musical genius at work here, the violins and violas of the Baroque cannot help but rise again from the ashes of fiery neglect.
Fervently (if not feverishly) recommended!