VIVALDI: “Rarita per tastiera” = Concerto in F Major; Con. in F Major; Con. in D; Sinfonia in A Major; Con. in C Minor; Largo e Andante in A Major; Con. in F Major; BACH: Con. in B minor; WALTHER: Con. in E minor – L’Orfeo Ens./Fabrizio Ammetto – Tactus

by | Jun 5, 2008 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

VIVALDI: “Rarita per tastiera” = Concerto in F Major, RV 584; Concerto in F Major, RV 775; Concerto in D, RV 774; Sinfonia in A Major; Concerto, RV 310; Concerto in C Minor, RV 766; Largo e Andante in A Major, RV 746; Concerto in F Major, RV 767; Movement from Concerto in D Minor, RV 541; Movement from Concerto in C Major;
BACH: Concerto in B Minor, BWV 979; WALTHER: Concerto in E Minor – L’Orfeo Ensemble di Spoleto/Fabrizio Ammetto

Tactus TC 672247,  76:01 [Distrib. Allegro] ****:

Editor and re-constructionist Michael Talbot provides a note to this wonderfully bright disc (rec. 4-6 September 2006) that reads: “The main purpose of the present recording is to set before the listener this buried treasure in as complete and accurate a form as is today possible.” L’Orfeo Ensemble di Spoleto provides original instruments, one of which is the organ, played by Angelo Silvio Rossi and Luca Scandali, which turns many of the concertos into sonatas di chiesa, with the particular addition of a keyboard instrument – otherwise absent from Vivaldi’s oeuvre. Much of Vivaldi’s scanty keyboard writing merely doubles the upper voice of a solo violin or the continuo section, perhaps allowing the performer a degree of musica ficta, providing harmonies between treble and bass, supposing the player could improvise correctly. It could be that the natural environment of Italy did not encourage keyboard virtuosity, and those who did excel in klavier writing found their true voices abroad. Bach and Walther (who provide the two longest works) appear on the disc because they compose “after the manner of Vivaldi,” freely borrowing his ideas and transposing them as virtuoso keyboard vehicles.

Olivia Giubboni pungently realizes the cembalo soli on this disc, and the digital sound reverberates with ferocity and articulate aplomb. Luca Venturi, Fabrizio Ammetto, and Angelo Cicillini realize the respective violin soli in the course of some pounding, exciting concertos, whose Lombardic rhythms and acutely dissonant pulsations keep mind, heart, and feet moving. The Vivaldi Sinfonia in A (RV Anh. 85) presents a perfect case in point, rife with wit and sweeping, programmatic gestures–figuerenlehre–a consistent, motoric energy and emotionalism we usually attribute to Bach’s Third Brandenburg or to the music of his son, C.P.E. Bach.

Walther’s Concerto (after Vivaldi’s RV Anh. 275) makes a splendid organ toccata, bright, virtuosic, grandly antiphonal. The second movement Adagio, a haunted, step-wise arioso with echo effects, proves a ghostly meditation of insistent power. The Allegro bursts forth, and we feel as if we were caught inside the organ pipes, so rich are layers of sound. RV 766 is a bright piece for organ, violin, and continuo, the driving, affective lines often emphatic in the manner of the later C.P.E. Bach. The F Major Gruytter’s Carillon from Op. 3, No. 3 could easily pass for the music of Bach, especially the landings of phrases and cadences; besides Bach did transcribe its rich, opulent, asymmetrical textures for his own, more conservative, use. The flute stop over a drone bass in the Largo calls our ears to attention. The spirited Allegro possesses a crisp energy that only clean, articulated organ sonority can present. Michael Talbot’s reconstruction of a movement in C Major, RV Anh. 76, has a chest of strings against a violin and organ’s oboe stop. Solo organ again for RV 745, two movements in A Major, the Largo a semi-hornpipe arioso whose phrase ends are quick flourishes. The Andante is rife with antiphons and a weaving bass line. Finally, the luxuriant Concerto in F, RV 767, which sumptuously intertwines violin, organ, and continuo into a seamless blend whose upbeat spirit is not far from Il Cimento and the Four Seasons.  A thoroughly happy, scholarly and musical supplement to Vivaldi enthusiasts who thought they’d heard it all.

— Gary Lemco


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