VIVALDI: The Four Seasons (piano arrangements); Mandolin Concerto in C Major RV 425; Lute Concerto in D Major RV 93 – Jeffrey Biegel, piano – Naxos

by | Jul 11, 2009 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

VIVALDI: The Four Seasons (piano arrangements); Mandolin Concerto in C Major RV 425; Lute Concerto in D Major RV 93 – Jeffrey Biegel, piano – Naxos 8.570031, 60:32 ***:

We’ve had Vivaldi’s over-played Four Seasons transcribed for many different and unexpected instruments and in many different genres – including jazz and electronic – but this may be the first for solo piano.  The pianist here, Jeffrey Biegel, did the piano reductions, and Andrew Gentile did the reductions for the Vivaldi mandolin and lute concerti.

Of course Bach transcribed many of Vivaldi’s other concertos for keyboard and other instruments, so in a way this is nothing new.Vivaldi didn’t write anything for solo keyboard, so it’s nice to have some of this music in this form. Biegel used Bach’s transcribing models as a sort of guide to his own approach in adapting Vivaldi.  His goal was to make these pieces sound like they were written for the piano originally.

I’m sorry but they don’t. They are pleasant listening, but clearly string pieces and just don’t seem to work on the piano – at least to my ears.  Now Bach, on the other hand, would probably transcribe well – no matter what instrument(s) his music was originally written for.

 – John Sunier

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