The most famous violin concertos ever written are well represented in this 10-CD set of Menuhin's finest performances-but so are many less-familiar works that Menuhin resurrected. Beginning with The Four Seasons by Vivaldi; Violin Concerto in E by Bach, and many more pieces by both composers, the set moves on to Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in C Major Haydn; Violin Concertos. Nos. 4 & 5 Mozart; Violin Concerto in D Beethoven; Violin Concerto in A Minor Dvorak; Violin Concerto in D Brahms; Violin Concerto in B Minor Elgar, and more!
"After hearing I Musici perform, Arturo Toscanini remarked, "Twelve individual instrumental masters, and together the finest chamber orchestra in the world." This Italian ensemble has long attracted international attention for their emphasis on brilliance, strength of attack, and high level of discipline, beginning with their first performances of seventeenth and eighteenth century Italian music. (…) I Musici over the years has constantly built upon its strengths, and the group members to apply the same dedication to their artistry as they did upon formation. Their performances can be heard on over 45 recordings, almost all under the Philips label."
This is the 51st title in the Vivaldi Edition and the 6th volume, out of approximately 12, of the series dedicated to the violin concertos whose manuscripts are held in the National Library of Turin. Following two successful volumes of concertos for solo violin and orchestra recorded separately in the Vivaldi Edition, virtuosos Riccardo Minasi and Dmitry Sinkovsky now join forces to record pyrotechnic concertos for two violins and orchestra. This series of 6 concertos is an overview of the complete art of Vivaldi as a composer and violinist: large of musical scale, invention, expression, energy, and of course, virtuosity.
Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernis barbarie (Judith triumphant over the barbarians of Holofernes), RV 644, is an oratorio by Antonio Vivaldi, the only survivor of the four that he is known to have composed. The libretto was written by Iacopo Cassetti based upon the Book of Judith. Though the balance has been ably redressed in recent years, the appearance of this new recording of Juditha Triumphans is welcome.
La stravaganza was Vivaldi's second published set of concertos and was issued sometime between 1712 and 1715. In a characteristically interesting and informative note Michael Talbot explains that La stravaganza or ''Extravagance'' should be understood as wandering outside the boundaries of convention in respect both of melody and harmony. Unlike the earlier L'estro armonico (Op. 3), La stravaganza contains only concertos for solo violin though occasionally, as for example in the seventh concerto Vivaldi brings additional instruments to the fore. Perhaps the set is a little uneven in quality but the finest things here should fire the imagination and arouse the passions of most listeners.
For all the charges of unacceptable schematicism levelled at Vivaldi and his kind, Monica Huggett, as supremely imaginative as well as technically and stylistically accomplished an exponent of the baroque violin as any, demonstrates clearly that this music benefits from the guiding hand of a charismatic interpreter: her delivery of Vivaldi’s exuberant, even manic, inspiration is never less than involving and, in the slow movements, never less than touching.
Nine cello sonatas by Vivaldi have survived. Six of them were published as a set in Paris in about 1740; that set, mistakenly known as the composer's Op. 14, contains the sonatas recorded in this release. The three remaining sonatas come from manuscript collections. All but one of the six works are cast in the slow-fast-slow-fast pattern of movements of the sonata da chiesa. The odd one out, RV46, in fact, retains the four movement sequence but inclines towards the sonata da camera in the use of dance titles. The music of these sonatas is almost consistently interesting, often reaching high points of expressive eloquence, as we find, for example, in the justifiably popular Sonata in E minor, RV40. Christophe Coin brings to life these details in the music with technical assurance and a spirit evidently responsive to its poetic content. Particularly affecting instances of this occur in the third movements of the A minor and the E minor Sonatas where Coin shapes each phrase, lovingly achieving at the same time a beautifully sustained cantabile.
It would be no exaggeration to name Antonio Vivaldi as the “pioneer of the bassoon concerto”. The first milestone in the emancipation of the bassoon, until the beginning of the 17 century exclusively used as a basso continuo instrument, for which the part wasn’t even written out, was a series of nine virtuoso bassoon sonatas published by Giovanni Antonio Bertoli in 1645.