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Vivaldi: Violin Concertos

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
To the time-honored categories of mainstream and historically informed performances of Baroque works we now must add a third. More and more often, performers who've become famous in traditional Classical-Romantic repertory are venturing not only into music of the Baroque, but also of Baroque bows, A-415 tunings, gut strings, ornamentation treatises, and all the other details with which modern players try to approximate a Baroque sound world. Even Yo-Yo Ma has hit the sales charts by teaming with Ton Koopman for a couple of volumes of Vivaldi's music, and now the adventurous Russian-born violinist Viktoria Mullova is out with a Vivaldi concerto disc of her own. Does ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
To the time-honored categories of mainstream and historically informed performances of Baroque works we now must add a third. More and more often, performers who've become famous in traditional Classical-Romantic repertory are venturing not only into music of the Baroque, but also of Baroque bows, A-415 tunings, gut strings, ornamentation treatises, and all the other details with which modern players try to approximate a Baroque sound world. Even Yo-Yo Ma has hit the sales charts by teaming with Ton Koopman for a couple of volumes of Vivaldi's music, and now the adventurous Russian-born violinist Viktoria Mullova is out with a Vivaldi concerto disc of her own. Does Viktoria Mullova "get it"? The answer generally is yes. She passes the first test with Vivaldi, which is to realize that there's no reason to record the same handful of concertos over again; the Vivaldi catalog is full of marvels ready for wider exposure. Mullova offers five concertos here for a rather parsimonious 53 minutes of music in total, including the "Concerto in B minor for four violins, RV 580," very familiar especially in its four-harpsichord arrangement by Bach, but also including the little-recorded "Grosso Mogul Concerto in D major, RV 208." The title of this work refers to an Indian potentate, but the reason for the designation is unknown. There is no hint of Indian influence, but whatever the occasion was, it called forth from Vivaldi a prime specimen of his big, spacious idiom, easily construed as royal. The violin part taxes any player, but Mullova, playing a 1723 Stradivarius with a Baroque bow, spins out long, shimmering threads from even the roughest passages. Throughout, her style is precise, exacting, marked by notable endurance, and a bit severe, just like her picture on the cover. Another remarkable piece is the abrupt miniature "Concerto in D major, RV 234," known as "L'Inquietudine," "unease." Mullova's edgy sound works perfectly here. She is backed by Il Giardino Armonico, an orchestra of period-instrument players. Onyx's sound doesn't match up to the recording feats that other European labels -- Naïve, Alpha, MDG -- accomplished around the same time; Mullova's violin has a bit of a tendency to get lost in the texture. And there is no virtue in proclaiming, as Mullova does here, that she hasn't consulted Baroque instructional sources. There are all kinds of residencies and camps for this sort of thing, where one can hear the likes of Rachel Podger adding the improvisational dimension of this music back in. Nevertheless, this is a brisk, bracing disc that will interest fans of the edgy Mullova and anyone else looking for a traditional violinist as a guide while exploring the Baroque.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/13/2005
  • Label: Onyx Classics Uk
  • UPC: 880040400127
  • Catalog Number: 4001
  • Sales rank: 149,547

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Viktoria Mullova Primary Artist
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