Most people reading reviews of this disc are probably more interested in The Four Seasons than anything else. As the most frequently played work in the 'classical' repertoire, it has become something of a cliché. How can a new recording offer anything different? Well, Carmignola and the Venice Baroque make every effort to do so and this CD fizzes with energy. The storm in the allegro of 'Summer' really does have some clout. Carmignola's playing of the big four is virtuosic and impassioned, while the orchestra contributes massively (theirs is no mere accompaniment).The VBO always offer a multi-layered sound, recorded here in incredible detail.
But my interest lies primarily in the three world-premiere recordings also offered here. It might be imagined that these three late works are not in the same league as the concerti that precede them. This view would be completely mistaken. What is striking is that music of such quality should have been neglected for so long. (The reason why they were not published in Vivaldi's lifetime is because after 1733 he'd decided to sell manuscripts of concerti individually - at a guinea apiece, if you're interested. We're lucky most have survived.)
Although their sampling facility is exemplary, listening to the excerpts on Amazon will give only the vaguest idea of the depth and richness of sound created by Venice Baroque - the best Baroque ensemble, for my money. Music like this demands to be played on quality hi-fi equipment. The Eb concerto in particular is ravishing, life-affirming stuff. I've still no idea exactly what combination of instruments make up the sounds in the slow movement (theorbo, cello and organ is my best guess) but the result is hypnotic. RV211 and RV376 are also richly rewarding.
Altogether, this recording is essential listening. I paid full price for it in pre-Amazon days, but it has been worth every penny.