“With fabulous performances and BIS’s state of the art recording I would say it has to be one of the top choices in a fiercely competitive market.” MusicWeb-International.com; “What you do get is all the excitement and spontaneity of a live performance… an utterly unified aesthetic which admits of the wildest fantasy.” Gramophone
1711 saw the publication of what was to become one of the most important musical collections of the first half of the 18th century: Antonio Vivaldi’s L’estro armonico (‘The Harmonic Fancy’). Scored for one, two, or four violin soloists, the twelve concertos in the set fuelled a burgeoning fashion for new Italian music in northern Europe, and were soon being avidly performed and enjoyed in major musical centres, inspiring younger composers including Bach, Handel and Telemann. Vivaldi’s set – represented here by the Concerto in B minor, RV 580 and Violin Concerto in A minor, RV 356 – established a vogue for a virtuosic and brilliant type of writing, with fast movements characterized as much by their propulsive basses as by conventional melodiousness and with central slow movements often exuding a mesmeric, almost ghostly calm. Fourteen years later another collection of concertos – Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione (‘The Contest of Harmony and Invention’) – would secure Vivaldi’s reputation for eternity. The first four concertos of this collection form what has become one of the most widely spread classical compositions in the history of music: Le Quattro Stagioni. Countless violinists have recorded Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, not to mention the many arrangements of the pieces for other instruments. Now Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, a team internationally recognized for its virtuosity, energy and individuality, has recorded their take on Vivaldi’s springtime birdsong, summer thunderstorm, autumn hunting and chattering teeth of icy winter. The programme also includes two typically Vivaldian slow movements, a Largo and a Grave, as well as a Sinfonia for strings originally intended as the overture of the opera La verità in cimento (‘Truth in contention’).