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Vivaldi - Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons)

Rachel Podger, Brecon Baroque

Antonio Vivaldi

SKU: 40318

Year of release: 2018

Concerto no. 1 La Primavera - Spring -op. 8 no. 1 03:24
1. Allegro Antonio Vivaldi 03:24
Concerto no. 1 La Primavera - Spring op. 8 no. 1 06:29
2. Largo e pianissimo Antonio Vivaldi 02:41
3. Allegro Antonio Vivaldi 03:48
Concerto no. 2 L'Estate - Summer - op. 8 no. 2 10:09
4. Allegro ma non molto Antonio Vivaldi 05:17
5. Adagio Antonio Vivaldi 02:01
6. Presto Antonio Vivaldi 02:50
Concerto no. 3 L'Autunno - autumn - op. 8 no. 2 10:42
7. Allegro Antonio Vivaldi 05:15
8. Adagio molto Antonio Vivaldi 02:20
9. Allegro Antonio Vivaldi 03:06
Concerto no. 4 L'Inverno - Winter - op. 8 no. 2 09:13
10. Allegro non molto Antonio Vivaldi 03:18
11. Largo Antonio Vivaldi 02:15
12. Allegro Antonio Vivaldi 03:39
Il Riposo per Il S.S. Natale RV 270 07:40
13. Allegro Antonio Vivaldi 04:06
14. Adagio Antonio Vivaldi 01:05
15. Allegro Antonio Vivaldi 02:27
Concerto L'Amoroso Rv 271 10:36
16. Allegro Antonio Vivaldi 04:31
17. Cantabile Antonio Vivaldi 02:30
18. Allegro Antonio Vivaldi 03:34
Concerto Il Grosso Mogul Rv 208 17:11
19. Allegro Antonio Vivaldi 05:37
20. Grave 0 Recitativo Antonio Vivaldi 02:53
21. Allegro Antonio Vivaldi 08:40

About this album

Vivaldi penned more than 500 concertos. At least 214 of these are for solo violin and orchestra, but as Michael Talbot remarks, ‘scarcely a year passes without the announcement of some fresh discovery’. So what was the ‘concerto’ to Vivaldi? What about it did he love so much to have composed so many? In the decade before Vivaldi composed Le Quattro Stagioni.

Despite what this recorded collection suggests, few of Vivaldi’s instrumental works have programmatic titles. On the whole, titles gesture towards a general mood. Il Riposo and L’amoroso are examples of this indication of Affekt – indeed, both are united in their key of gleaming E major. The case of Il Grosso Mogul is stranger. There seems to be no known link between Vivaldi and the Indian court of the Grand Mughal, Akbar. The extreme virtuosity required by the soloist in the outer movements, as well as the long, fully written-out cadenzas, suggest a theatrical function. Perhaps Vivaldi performed it as a ‘theatre concerto’ as part of an opera plot set in India. French royalty, however, did play a huge role in the reception of Le Quattro Stagioni. 

Producer Jonathan Freeman-Attwood writes:

“Working with Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque has been an object lesson in starting anew and identifying the ingredients which make ‘Le Quattro Stagioni’ great works. Virtuosity is non-negotiable here and Rachel has it in abundance. But it’s the colour, poetry, vibrancy and evocative characterisation of weather, human warmth and fragility, captured by the dynamic flux of Rachel interlocking with her colleagues in Brecon Baroque, that deliver near-unimaginable qualities in this music.”

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Reviews

The Sunday Times

(…) Rachel Podger's Midas touch makes even a warhorse such as Vivaldi's Four Seasons sound fresh-minted. She and her Brecon players see these concertos not as orchestral but as chamber music. Yet there is no lack of power in the big tuttis when the Spring dances are interrupted by downpours or the Summer storm breaks into balmier weather. This Vivaldi has an improvisatory quality, making you listen with cleansed ears.

iClassical [Recording of the Month]

This generously filled CD contains imaginatively interpreted, superbly performed Baroque concerti of the high standard we have to come to expect from these exceptional musicians during the year in which Rachel Podger will celebrate her 50th birthday. I have no hesitation in making this disc our CD of the Month and, even if you already own one or more versions of The Four Seasons, I would urge you to go out and buy this refreshing new account.

De Gelderlander

Rachel Podger tries to make the music sound as if the ink dried up yesterday (...) breathtaking listening experience (...) the most beautiful interpretation of Le Quattro Stagioni in fifty years

Presto Classical [Recording of the Week]

What a treat, then, to listen with fresh ears to Rachel Podger's delightfully straightforward but unstintingly imaginative new recording with Brecon Baroque.

HRAudio.net

(…) one's ear quickly adjusts to this [one instrument to a part], a decision that brings each of her trusted colleagues into the spotlight as much as the principal soloist and we are able to relish to the full the remarkable purity of the burnished sound and the colouristic opportunities offered to each instrumentalist, especially from the lute and theorbo. Needless to say Podger's peerless execution of the solo part in each concerto is beyond reproach. (…) a beautifully balanced recording (5.0 channel DSD) of unparalleled realism that perfectly recreates the fine acoustic of St. Jude's Church, London (…) a fresh, uplifting account of Vivaldi's ubiquitous masterpiece performed impeccably by one of the world's finest period violinists and recorded in state-of the art sound. What more needs to be said? >> Performance: 5 stars Sonics (Stereo): 5 stars Sonics (Multichannel): 5 stars

Radio 4 [CD of the Week]

The listener experiences colors, a tangible translation of the weather, human warmth and vulnerability. Together with her colleagues from Brecon Baroque, Rachel delivers almost unimaginable quality in these pieces.

Stereophile

(...) Why should I bother with yet another recording of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons?" you may ask. "There are already 226 entries for it at arkivmusic.com!" Because baroque violinist Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque's new, period instrument Channel Classics SACD of Le Quattro Stagioni and three other violin concertos by Vivaldi is likely the freshest, most joy-filled, and best-recorded of the bunch. (...) her sole desire, masterfully enabled by engineer Jared Sacks, is to honor the humor, invention, good spirits, and marvelous interplay of colors that have made Vivaldi's irresistibly tuneful concerto a perennial classic. (...) this native DSD production is demonstration class. (...)

Gramophone [Editor's Choice]

If ever a disc were self-recommending, this is it: one of today’s most consistently brilliant Baroque violinists, records one of the era’s most famed and engaging works. Enjoy!

The Times

(…) Podger's bouncy phrasing and clarity, myriad subtleties in textures and dynamics, the kindliness of a recording that, unlike some, allows the music and its reverberations to breathe. (…) entrancing and necessary album.

RevOpera

Sorry to repeat myself, but this is yet another outstanding recording by Mrs. Podger. Her ensemble, Brecon Baroque, isn’t particularly large. This conveys a nice sense of intimacy. The entire recording is extremely nuanced, subtle, but always joyful.

Financial Times

Rachel Podger, violinist and director of Brecon Baroque, performs the work with a select group of eight musicians, one to each part. So far from sounding spartan, this releases a freedom and buoyancy in the playing that is quite delightful.

AllMusic

At any rate, Podger and her musicians produce a remarkably colorful performance, and fill out the rest of the album with three more violin concertos, Il Riposo per Il santissimo Natale, L'Amoroso, and Il Grosso Mogul, which give new listeners a chance to explore less familiar Vivaldi. Channel Classics recorded this album in St. Jude's Church, London, and the resonant but unobtrusive acoustics contribute to the group's vibrant sound. Highly recommended.

Musicophilesblog

Avec ce disque, Rachel Podger signe sans aucun doute la nouvelle version de référence du chef d’oeuvre de Vivaldi … et sans doute pour longtemps !

Classic FM

Album of the Week (April 23, 2018)

Technical Specifications

SpeakersGrimm LS1
Digital To Analog ConverterHorus
Mastering EquimentMerging Pyramix
Mastering EngineerJared Sacks
EditingJared Sacks
Cablesvan der Hul
Mixing ConsoleRens Heijnis custom made
MicrophonesBruel & Kyaer
Recording FormatDSD256
Analog To Digital ConverterHorus
Recording DateOctober 2017
Recording LocationSt. Judes on the Hill, Hampstead, London
Recording EngineerJared Sacks
ProductionJonathan Freeman Attwood