The popular Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment presents a fantastic and exuberantly played selection of Vivaldi. Named a ‘Choice' recording by Gramophone upon release, the OAE joyfully celebrate some of Vivaldi's finest instrumental writing. The soloists are drawn from within the distinguished ranks of the OAE including Anthony Robson (oboe), Andrew Clark (horn), Roger Montgomery (horn), David Watkin (cello), Lisa Beznosiuk (flute), Elizabeth Kenny (lute) and Catherine Mackintosh (viola). The concertos assembled on this disc afford the listener a glimpse of Vivaldi's originality, not only as a sensitive colourist and master of form, but also as a felicitous melodist whose harmonies and phraseology are charged with heady atmosphere. The dancing rhythms and distinctive characters of these concerti together with the variety of instrumental combinations and sparkling performances make this a fresh and constantly engaging listen.
"Considering the small number of solo concertos for the bassoon from the baroque period the number of Vivaldi's compositions for this instrument is remarkable. With 39 concertos for one bassoon this part of his oeuvre is the second largest of his instrumental output, after the concertos for violin. That is all the more notable as there is no conclusive evidence that this instrument was played at the Ospedale della Pietà. Vivaldi wrote the largest part of his instrumental works for the girls of this institution…"
In 1991, under the auspices of the Institute for the Musical Heritage in Piedmont and the Piedmont Region was founded in Turin the ensemble Astrée, specializing in training instrumental repertoire six eighteenth-century historians and criteria with the use of original instruments.
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (4 March 1678 – 28 July 1741), nicknamed il Prete Rosso ("The Red Priest") because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe. Vivaldi is known mainly for composing instrumental concertos, especially for the violin, as well as sacred choral works and over 40 operas. His best known work is a series of violin concertos known as The Four Seasons.
The concertos featured on this CD were discovered under the most unusual cir-cumstances. In 1926, the Salesian fathers, who ran a Piedmontese boarding school, inquired at the National Library in Turin about the value of a manuscript collection they owned...
Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert dominated the performance of baroque music on authentic instruments during the 1970s and 1980s. Sadly, many of their recordings are becoming very hard to find. This is one of the very best, surpassing even their recording of the Four Seasons on the Deutsche Grammophon label.
…Mullova and Carmignola provide one of the most consummate displays of period instrument playing that I have heard. True masters of their instruments.
"Italian conductor and musicologist Alberto Zedda is widely recognized as one of the world's most prominent authorities on the operas of Gioachino Rossini. (…) Although his work on behalf of Rossini remains widely appreciated, Zedda's handling of early opera composers has drawn criticism, particularly as he eschews period instruments and prefers to devise modern orchestrations for seventeenth century operas.
…I Solisti Italiani continues, both spiritually and sonically, where the original Virtuosi di Roma left off, with creamy, expert, middle-of-the-road performances of Baroque and Classical period music, and occasional 20th-century pieces as well. The ensemble is small - only 12 players, without conductor - but the sound is full and caloric, the playing dapper and disciplined.