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Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
When the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields began to popularize Vivaldi's music in the 1970s, it was on the cutting edge with its light, warm chamber orchestra sound, burnished to technical perfection yet sounding completely different from its symphonic cousins. Now, a recording like this one, with star violinist Joshua Bell, sounds conservative in comparison with young bucks like Fabio Biondi on the historical-performance side or even the young Dutch firebrand Janine Jansen. This big-budget by classical standards release is the kind of thing you don't see so often now, with a big poster showing Bell carefully decked out in a partially undone tie, as well as individual ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
When the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields began to popularize Vivaldi's music in the 1970s, it was on the cutting edge with its light, warm chamber orchestra sound, burnished to technical perfection yet sounding completely different from its symphonic cousins. Now, a recording like this one, with star violinist Joshua Bell, sounds conservative in comparison with young bucks like Fabio Biondi on the historical-performance side or even the young Dutch firebrand Janine Jansen. This big-budget by classical standards release is the kind of thing you don't see so often now, with a big poster showing Bell carefully decked out in a partially undone tie, as well as individual full-color cards reproducing, in Italian and English, the descriptive seasonal sonnets that provide the program for the four concertos. It could have collapsed under its own weight, but Bell pulls it off. Conducting the Academy strings himself, he forges tight, not-overly-sweet recordings of Vivaldi's four familiar concertos, with a nice contrast between orchestra and solo that showcases his easy, compelling agility and his Heifetz-like sharpness and brilliance. There's nothing fancy about the recording, which resembles in its basic outlines many of those released by mainstream chamber orchestras a couple of decades ago, but it's just extraordinarily carefully and sharply done, with slight broadenings of tempo at the ends of intricate phrases to give Bell space to show his stuff. The programmatic drama of the music is never shortchanged, but never overdone. In a way, with every performer feeling that he or she has to say something new about the "Four Seasons," it's nice to find one who is confident enough not to have to do that. In fact, the one moment where the mood is broken comes when Bell does attempt something unorthodox: the slow movment of the "Winter" concerto track 11, which he takes a good deal faster than Largo and articulates the cadences in a fussy way. The recording is rounded out by Tartini's "Sonata in G minor for violin and continuo" "The Devil's Trill", which has the effect of a release into the realm of spectacular display after the taut beauty of the Vivaldi. It's a recording worthy of Bell's star quality, a fine "Four Seasons" for those not ready to take the plunge into historical performance, and an impressive feat of mostly studio engineering.
Gramophone - Lindsay Kemp
Mighty fine playing. Bell has the lightness and quickness of mercury in passagework, and a smooth and sweet lyricism no less divine in the slower sections.
New York Sun - Jay Nordlinger
The Academy has a way with Baroque and Classical music. They remain firmly within interpretive bounds. But they don't forget sound and feeling. And just the same can be said of the soloist, Mr. Bell. We have here a top-drawer recording of "The Four Seasons." The first concerto, "Spring," is crisp, fresh, and delicious. It combines the "lyrical" and the "chordal," the "horizontal" and the "vertical." It is both grand and nimble — just as Vivaldi wants it to be.
Strings Magazine
An innovative, invigorated take on Vivaldi’s classic concertos.

The Academy has a way with Baroque and Classical music. They remain firmly within interpretive bounds. But they don't forget sound and feeling. And just the same can be said of the soloist, Mr. Bell. We have here a top-drawer recording of "The Four Seasons." The first concerto, "Spring," is crisp, fresh, and delicious. It combines the "lyrical" and the "chordal," the "horizontal" and the "vertical." It is both grand and nimble — just as Vivaldi wants it to be.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/2/2008
  • Label: Sony Classics
  • UPC: 886971101324
  • Catalog Number: 711013
  • Sales rank: 4,751

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Joshua Bell Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Vivaldi: The Four Seasons by Joshua Bell

    I love " Vivaldi: The Four Seasons by Joshua Bell". Mr. Bell's interpretation is so inspirational that I've played it for my students in the classroom. Parents have commented that the music is so beautiful. And for some families who have just immigrated to the United States, they have said the melodic sound of the violin reminds them of music from their country. It's such a great album to introduce classical music to a new generation.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good job Josh Bell!

    Josh Bell, an extremely talented violinist, gives a good performance to the four seasons. While the technical aspect is clearly there, the interpretation of an authentic baroque styling clearly lacks. The almost mechanical nature lacks fire, vigor, and the improvisatory aspect in the ritornello concerto form of the Four Seasons to give an interesting unique performance. For an absolutely fantastic modern recording of the four seasons check out Janine Jansen's recording.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A BREATHTAKING OUTING

    Here we have joshua bell at his best. The selections are the four seasons as usual, but bell makes them his own.

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    Posted August 9, 2009

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    Posted December 5, 2009

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    Posted October 4, 2009

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    Posted October 7, 2008

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    Posted April 16, 2009

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    Posted May 13, 2009

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews