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Briefly Noted: Vivaldi x2

We are reviving Ionarts as a place to post occasional reviews of recent recordings. Watch for posts from JFL on Wednesdays ("Dip Your Ears") and me on Saturdays ("Briefly Noted").

available at Amazon
Vivaldi, Concertos for Two Instruments, La Serenissima, A. Chandler

(released on July 20, 2018)
Avie AV2392 | 75'32"
This little spark plug of a Vivaldi disc did not quite make the cut for my best of last year list. The repertory is perhaps not all that exciting, but these are crackerjack performances of seven concertos for two instruments, a form that fascinated Vivaldi more than most composers. Somehow this is my first time reviewing La Serenissima, the English period instrument orchestra founded in 1994. They had me from the first track, with the spunky Concerto for Two Horns in F Major, RV 539. Soloists Anneke Scott and Jocelyn Lightfoot are spirited in the bouncy first movement, but they also play with tender, melting legato in the slow movement.

Director Adrian Chandler takes the solo violin part in two concertos for violin and cello, partnering with his lead cellist, Vladimir Waltham. Peter Whelan has all kinds of rustic fun on the solo bassoon part in a Concerto for Oboe and Bassoon, and the program ends with the extravagnatly named Concerto per S.A.S.I.S.P.G.M.D.G.S.M.B. The crazy title, long a mystery, seems to be short-hand for a noble patron. Following the advice of Vivaldi scholar Michael Talbot and others, Chandler's edition has restored the complete parts to the horns, likely Vivaldi's first use of the instrument, which Vivaldi later gave instead to other instruments.

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