VIVALDI IN SEASON
Fruitful music, with Basil Ramsey
CPO 999 511-2
We can safely say that Vivaldi's music is better known in 2000 than
it was in 1900. The Four Seasons alone has ensured that. As for the
multitude of other works, perhaps a piece here or there. This two-CD set
embraces Vivaldi's opus 1, a group of twelve trio sonatas, plus five
other sonatas to make up content for two records, which brings the total
duration to 143 minutes.
Therefore, a concentration of Vivaldi concentrates the mind. Initially,
a run through helps detect the melodic cells that generally get coupled
- or tripled - for this or that turn of phrase. That sort of musical
test brings into focus the astonishing variety possible, however stringently
it's applied [listen - CD 1 track 9, 0:00-0:33].
So where is the essence of a particular sonata? If we are listening to
an 'also ran' composer there is precious little he can find that
has not already been swept into a superior working of similar material elsewhere.
The stylish multi-talented composers had the advantage of applying merest
touches of change sufficient to raise their musicmaking above the norm [listen - CD 1 track 37, 0:00-0:50].
Vivaldi was a plentiful scorer in this game despite lapses. This set
of sonatas faces differing levels of invention whereby good subject material
can be partially wasted on minimal treatment, and the reverse. I think such
contrariness is all too human. Yes, composers can also act miraculously
when the essentials appear to drop into place as though on automatic drive.
In Sonnerie such music as this has the attention of a superb group with
experience as a specialist ensemble in early music performance, and brilliance
as individual performers moulded to the unanimity of a single unit.
Copyright © 30 August 2000
Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK
CD INFORMATION - CPO 999 511-2
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