Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

by Dan Laurin
     
 

Vivaldi's "Four Seasons violin concertos," arguably the most often performed works in the entire repertory of classical music, stand apart from the rest of his output by virtue of their very popularity. Every group of performers feels the necessity of adding something to the dialogue that surrounds the work. Here Swedish recorder player Dan Laurin and Poland's… See more details below

Overview

Vivaldi's "Four Seasons violin concertos," arguably the most often performed works in the entire repertory of classical music, stand apart from the rest of his output by virtue of their very popularity. Every group of performers feels the necessity of adding something to the dialogue that surrounds the work. Here Swedish recorder player Dan Laurin and Poland's period-instrument Arte dei Suonatori not only replace the solo violin with a recorder (adding a good deal of new music for the soloist in the process), they also adopt an extremely subjective response to the music, using a style Laurin in his notes traces back to conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt and his Concentus Musicus Wien. Tempos shift and veer between extremes, seemingly conventional accompanimental parts are put in full regalia and brought out to center stage, and the reigning plan consists of a full-bore attempt to illustrate the composer's detailed poetic program for the music with maximum vividness. One may or may not accept this approach, which is becoming increasingly common. There is still plenty of room for performances that find the attraction of the work in the way it embodies extramusical scenes within the strict forms of the Baroque concerto. One may or may not be thrilled with the choice of the recorder as a solo instrument here, inasmuch as Vivaldi was an early adopter of the transverse flute and pushed toward new instrumental sonorities in much of his music. And one may wonder why the three short concertos that round out the disc are done in a much less radical style than the "Four Seasons" -- creating a specific style for program music is hard to fit with Baroque thinking about the nature of musical representation in general. All this said, however, Laurin is a really formidable recorder player who is able to make the comparatively simple instrument into an expressive powerhouse, leaping around the wide intervals and arpeggios of Vivaldi's violin writing as if he had had the recorder in mind all along. His control over his Polish accompanimental group is remarkable; even in difficult textures in which the music always seems to be shifting gears slightly, there is never the slightest hint that the musicians are having to sweat the effort to keep themselves together. This is a radical "Four Seasons," right down to the odd graphic design (the old guy in the undershirt on the back of the booklet is apparently meant to be the opposite number of the baby on the front cover, representing seasons of life rather than of the year). It would be an odd choice for a buyer's first recording of the work, but it is consistently exciting, even beyond the sheer shock of the new.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/26/2006
Label:
Bis
UPC:
7318599916057
catalogNumber:
1605
Rank:
186670

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. The Four Seasons (Il quattro stagione), concertos (4) for violin, strings & continuo ("Il cimento" Nos. 1-4) , Op. 8/1 - 4  - Antonio Vivaldi  - Dan Laurin  - Robert Suff  -  Arte dei Suonatori
  2. Concerto for strings & continuo in D major, Op. 12/3, RV 124  - Antonio Vivaldi  - Robert Suff  -  Arte dei Suonatori
  3. Flute Concerto, for flute, strings & continuo in G major, Op. 10/6, RV 437  - Antonio Vivaldi  - Dan Laurin  - Robert Suff  -  Arte dei Suonatori
  4. Recorder (Flute) Concerto, for recorder or flute, strings & continuo in C Minor, RV 441  - Antonio Vivaldi  - Dan Laurin  - Robert Suff  -  Arte dei Suonatori

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Dan Laurin   Primary Artist

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