The Akademie für Alte Musik celebrates 25 years of service with this release, having come a long way from the days of East German residency when period instruments were hardly given the time of day. Their effort in this realm over the years has born much fruit as testified to by the large number of releases on various labels. These 24 fine musicians have attained to a remarkable degree of maturity such that the performances they issue now seem to explore the “old” repertory with a new degree of spontaneity and verve that were so often lacking in the older recordings of almost any period group.
This is playing of such zest and enthusiasm that you will almost want to stand up and cheer! This is not for the shy or purposefully impenetrable listener who likes nice, clean and rather antiseptic performances. These readings rock, and rock hard. The music is indestructible, that almost goes without saying, but the joy and expressive capabilities of the magnetic digital lines set down on this disc, aided in no small part by HM’s crystalline though somewhat honestly chilled sound reveals nothing but naked emotion.
The works here consist of two concerti grossi opening and closing the program, replete with colorful guitar and thigh slapping horn parts, not to mention the blistering virtuoso antics of the band as a whole. Sandwiched between are fine deli slices indeed, with three double concertos (oboes, violins, and cellos), and a flavorful smattering of one concerto from the seminal L’estro armonico. Again we are short-houred in the timing, but I really don’t care this go round. And I don’t care how many Vivaldi collections you have either; passing this one by would be missing one of the finest of a whole slew that has appeared the last few years. You wouldn’t want to do that, would you?
— Steven Ritter