- Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in D minor ("per senza Cantin", without an E string), RV 243
- Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in E flat major, RV 254
- Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in F major, RV 283
- Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in D major, RV 232
- Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in C major, RV 187
- Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in E minor, RV 281
The trend in historical performances of Vivaldi's violin concertos has been to have the violinist serve as leader of the ensemble, as would likely have happened in Vivaldi's time. But Vivaldi's music, like Bach's, contains multitudes of ideas, and one way to look at the concertos, especially the late ones heard here, is to regard them as part, and indeed as a foundation, of the virtuoso tradition that grew up over the 18th century. That's the idea behind this recording, featuring violinist Giuliano Carmignola and the Accademia Bizantina under conductor Ottavio Dantone. All these musicians have recorded a good deal of Vivaldi before -- Carmignola was one of the mainstays of the Brilliant label's budget Vivaldi series -- but they produce something different as a team from what they accomplished individually. These concertos are all late works; one has never been recorded before, and two others are given in reconstructed versions. Dantone can deliver a good specimen of the high-octane way of playing Vivaldi that has become common among Italian historical-instrument groups, but here he selectively reins in the Accademia Bizantina in order to put Carmignola's exertions front and center and focus on the daring and innovative contrasts that are essential to Vivaldi's late style. And what exertions they are! In addition to the sheer speed of the finales and the presence of extravagant moments such as the three-octave scale in the cadenza used in the finale of the newly reconstructed "Violin Concerto in F major, RV 283," there are such novel effect as a concerto (the "Violin Concerto in D minor, RV 243") written entirely without the use of the E string. This is, in short, state-of-the-art Vivaldi, and a great deal of fun for listeners of any kind. Extra points for the fun pun in the album title.