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Vivaldi: La Cetra, 12 Violin Concertos Hybrid SACD

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Rachel Podger
  • Orchestra: Holland Baroque Society
  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
  • Audio CD (25 Jun. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: Channel Classics
  • ASIN: B007TG34QU
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,432 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Concerto No. 1 in C major, RV 181a
  2. Concerto No. 2 in A major, RV 345
  3. Concerto No. 3 in G minor, RV 334
  4. Concerto No. 4 in E major, RV 263a
  5. Concerto No. 5 in A minor, RV 358
  6. Concerto No. 6 in A major, RV 348

Disc: 2

  1. Concerto No. 7 in B-flat major, RV 359
  2. Concerto No. 8 in D minor, RV 238
  3. Concerto No. 9 in B-flat major, RV 530
  4. Concerto No. 10 in G major, RV 300
  5. Concerto No. 11 in C minor, RV 198a
  6. Concerto No. 12 in B minor, RV 391

Product Description

Product Description

CHN 33412; CHANNEL CLASSICS - Olanda; Classica Orchestrale per violino

Review

What I like most of all is her evident relish of the virtuoso demands that the music makes, she rises splendidly to them, making the most of Vivaldi's extravagant writing. --Gramophone Awards 2003

Podger has one of the sweetest tones of any period-instrument violinist - Vivaldi: La Stravaganza. --BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE - Bach: Violin Concertos

Podger in Holland for the 1727 La cetra set. La cetra ( The Lyre ) was published in Amsterdam in 1727, dedicated to the Austrian emperor, Charles VI. (Confusingly, another manuscript set of 12 concertos, from the following year and likewise dedicated to Charles, are also called La cetra.) The familiar ingredients of Vivaldi's concerto style are well established by this stage in his career; there are perhaps two or three concertos where the elements are put together in a rather superficial way but the set as a whole demonstrates Vivaldi's remarkable ability to find continually renewed inspiration in writing for solo violin with string orchestra. (Just one work, No 9 in B flat, a spirited, airy double violin concerto, changes the setting.) My particular favourites are No 3, with its elaborate orchestral tuttis in the outer movements, No 5, which has an unusual, tempestuous character, the seriousminded No 8, with its elaborate, sonorous writing for strings, and, perhaps best of all, the last concerto in B minor. One of two in which the solo violin plays scordatura (with nonstandard tuning), it's notable for its attractive melody and continual inventiveness. A few years ago I was impressed, listening to the Holland Baroque Society's disc of music by Georg Muffat, directed by Matthew Halls (A/08), by their youthful verve. With Rachel Podger in charge, their enthusiasm is undimmed, and there's a wholehearted commitment to projecting the character of each movement and to articulating the shape of every phrase. Even what might seem to be mundane accompaniment figures have an expressive nuance that gives positive support of the solo line. Podger plays with her customary beauty of tone, purity of tuning and lively variety of articulation. Her melodic decorations in the slow central movements give a delightfully unforced, spontaneous impression. The performances take a few liberties. I love the way that at the start of the First Concerto, the repeated chord pattern is extended backwards, providing a sort of young person's guide to the basso continuo , as organ, harpsichord, double bass and guitar enter one by one. And Podger's elaboration of the chordal introduction to the Fifth Concerto immediately establishes the work's dramatic character. I'm not so sure about what sounds like a mandolin obbligato in the Largo of the Second Concerto (or is it just harpsichord?). It's a delightful sound but draws attention away from the violin melody. Still, these are brilliant, energetic performances, full of genuine Vivaldian spirit and excitement. --Gramophone

Unlike some of her continental rivals Podger's light bowing and well-judged tempos effortlessly discover the tenderly poetic content of Vivaldi's music, and here that dimension is abundant...Podger's playing radiates expressive warmth and we can only delight in the spontaneous rapport that she feels with the mature idiom of these wonderful concertos.August 2012. --BBC Music Magazine

The music world is inestimably the better for Rachel Podger...Everything she touches comes to life in a way that is not only satisfying musically but also representative of the human spirit at its most vital...Podger reveals unexpected depth and variety of expression in the music...Podger wears her virtuosity lightly, and the relationship with the Holland Baroque Society players is clearly one of mutual inspiration.14th July 2012. --The Financial Times

The variety of Op 9 astounds the ear,especially in these feisty readings,which emphasise the folksy roots of the dance movements and lend them an almost funky modernity.The highlight here is the B flat major double concerto with Judith Steenbrink as second soloist.24th June 2012. --The Sunday Times

Personality and charisma can easily be found in Rachel Podger's account of Vivaldi's violin concertos...the elegant energy in her phrasing is adorable...contrasts are vivid,the drama is considerable,and the orchestra's sonic tapestries bring their own special joy.22nd June 2012. --The Times

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By Paul C on 30 Jun. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Vivaldi's Opus 9 (evocatively entitled "La Cetra") is a very rewarding set of concertos and a new recording is well-deserved.

I have heard two previous period instrument accounts - Kraemer on EMI and Hogwood on L'oiseau-lyre - so I was keen to see how this recording would compare. The answer is very well.

Podger and colleagues play with plenty of fizz. Indeed, one of the many strengths of this version is the lack of predictability and routine. There are numerous little touches that make this feel like a spontaneous performance rather than a recording and the music benefits greatly.

Podger's playing is superb and the orchestra is equally adept. The colourful continuo (organ, harpsichord and two lutes) adds real variety of colour.

The sound quality is excellent too.

I do have a couple of minor criticisms.

The main one is that in a couple of places the plucked continuo instruments strum rather too forcefully. It's particularly disconcerting at one point during the finale to concerto number 4; a movement that is not well-suited to such force.

The other issue I have is the strange opening to the set. Rather than just starting at the first bar of the first concerto, the band plays an improvisation - lasting 20 seconds or so - that leads into the first bar. There is a rather engaging interview video with Podger on YouTube in which she explains the origins of this idea, but it is still a but too wacky for me. It's stylish enough though and maybe I will get used to it.

Such comments aside though, this is a very exciting and entertaining account of La Cetra.
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This set of twelve concertos was recorded in early 2012. The recording was made in the resonant acoustics of a church. In addition, the recording is closely balanced with a very substantial bass presence. This emphasis makes the solo violin more of a part with the whole rather than being spotlit as a separate solo entity. Finally, the recording is transferred to disc at a very high level which emphasises all the above points. In order to get a more realistic balance as if one were in the audience rather than being one of the players, it is necessary to reduce the playback level by some 4 decibels. At that point there is a considerable improvement and the bass becomes less dominant.

Rachel Podger brings a relatively light touch to these works when compared to various Italian groups that have been recorded recently and who favour very dramatic renderings of Vivaldi's concertos. There are no direct comparisons currently available of these Opus 9 concertos at the moment though so that may be jumping to conclusions before the event.

The key thing to note about this set of 12 concertos is the title which translated means 'the lyre.' That was an essentially gentle instrument and that may well explain the absence of much of the display element in the solo writing of these concertos. Vivaldi is arguably much more concerned with integrating the soloist with the other players throughout these concertos. That is not to say that the concertos are anything less than demanding for the player, but Rachel Podger is justified in concentrating on blending rather than displaying her capabilities in this set.
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Absolutely superb rendition of these works, sadly not aired enough on such as Classic FM (I am willing to be disabused but the top hundreds seem to be always clogged with more composers such as Vaughan Williams — although I do like some of his works, Shostakovitch, Stravinsky, and modern composers - Henry Kelly selected a more reliably eclectic mix) which goes for much of Vivaldi's extensive collection.

Podger delivers as always, the opening bars of Concerto No. 1 in C major, RV 181a are sheer magic. I have a hunch this was used by the minstrels at Beaulieu to begin those Medieval (yes I know the period is out) in the early 1970s.

Podger's combination with Andrew Manze on Bach: Solo & Double Violin Concertos (BWV 1041-1043, 1060) is also well worth looking up. When I try to insert a product link it points to "ASIN:1459681428 The Doctors Who's Who: Celebrating Its 50th Year: The Story Behind Every Face Of The Iconic Time Lord" for some reason.
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The playing is superb, recording equally so, you can feel the emotions, vigor and sensitivity and I did not realize that I could so enjoy this type of music
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This is real treat for the ears. Rachel Podger has the perfect blend of intelligence, inventiveness, spontaneity and technical acumen in this music. She conveys all the imagination and sheer joy of Vivaldi's writing with a wonderfully sweet-toned, perfectly articulated sound. The Holland Baroque Society are in complete harmony with her, rhythmically alive and endlessly energetic. The recorded sound is present, detailed and warm. Baroque playing doesn't get much better than this.
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