VIVALDI: Five Violin Concertos = Concerto in C, RV 187; Concerto in D, RV 234 “L’Inquietude;” Concerto in B Minor for 4 Violins and Cello; Concerto in D “Il Grosso Mogul;” Concerto in E Minor “Il Favorito” – Viktoria Mullova, violin/ens. – Onyx

by | Oct 5, 2005 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

VIVALDI: Five Violin Concertos = Concerto in C, RV 187;
Concerto in D, RV 234 “L’Inquietude;” Concerto in B Minor for 4 Violins
and Cello, RV 580; Concerto in D, RV 208 “Il Grosso Mogul;” Concerto in
E Minor, RV 277 “Il Favorito” – Viktoria Mullova, violin/ Marco
Testori, cello/ Stefano Barneschi, violin/ Marco Bianchi, violin/
Riccardo Masahide Minasi, violin (RV 580)/ Il Giardino Armonico/
Giovanni Antonini, conductor – Onyx 4001  53:06 ****:

Recorded June 6-9, 2004, we have several fine virtuoso concertos from
Vivaldi’s huge output of 253 violin concertos, each of which
contributed to the development of string technique and bravura display.
The Grand Mogul Concerto, alluding to the Indian court of Grand Mughal
Akbar, has a distinctly pesant flavor, a heavy dispersion of accents
within which the violin weaves marvelous arabesques and fervent
cadenzas. The middle cantilena movement ends with a suspended
resolution which only the ensuing Allegro can happily resolve. Johann
Sebastian Bach found RV 208 and the B Minor Concerto for Four Violins
much to his taste and transcribed them for organ and four harpsichords
respectively. The B Minor (Op. 3, No. 10) derives from the L’estro
armonico collection of 1711, which synthesized much of Vivaldi’s
absorption of French and Italian musical styles. The flexible and
buoyant solo parts enjoy a glorified personal lyricism that would mark
the flamboyance for the era of violin virtuosity. The C Major, RV 187
has a Handelian flavor, touched by a hue of melancholy in the Largo ma
non molto, which is then somewhat dispelled by the wicked fioritura and
double-stopping of the final movement’s solo part. The so-called
Restless Concerto, RV 234, is quite brief.  The opening movement
alternates between palpitation and meditation. If the Largo provides
some balm for the uneasy spirit, the final Allegro again projects a
sense of agile anxiety.

The E Minor (Op. 11, No. 2) is one of six presented to Charles VI of
the Holy Roman Empire. Rather brilliant in all aspects, the piece
balances lyric tenderness with volatile drama. The last movement
prefigures the Autumn concerto from The Four Seasons. Ms. Mullova,
plying her Julius Falk Stradivarius with gut strings and baroque bow,
makes linear, silken sense of these fine works, her high bridge
creating marvelous detache notes and visceral attacks. It’s a peppy,
vigorous hour of music, a charming balance of harmony and invention,
and well-recorded.

–Gary Lemco

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