<< -- 3 -- Robert Anderson CONJURING TRICKS
If ever Vivaldi seems repetitive and tiresome, it is as well to remember how
greatly Bach admired him, to the extent of transcribing for his own use a good
few of the concertos. Nonetheless, a movement such as the Largo in the
B flat concerto can only amaze with its expressiveness and power. Minor keys never
fail to evoke the best from Vivaldi's muse
[listen -- track 17, 0:00-1:12]. Here the Nicolaus
Esterházy Sinfonia under Béla Drahos give of their best, responding to
Vivaldi's inspiration with a tender understanding that cannot fail to move. Yet
throughout its history the bassoon has also had a strong sense of humour, of which
Vivaldi was also keenly aware when making this instrument cavort over gigantic leaps
or deliver notes in explosive repetition with the velocity of a machine-gun.
The first seven concertos in the Naxos series are an unqualified joy, and my faith
in Vivaldi is such I'm prepared to wager they have not been specially selected.
An appropriate envoi can be the bubbling wit that launches the G major concerto
with a sequence of slithering scales guaranteed to make a cat laugh
[listen -- track 19, 0:00-1:02].