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4.7 out of 5 stars
Big Vivaldi Box
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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2013
Format: MP3 Music
The Big Vivaldi Box

Again, to all the great Amazon customers who have made The Bach Guild's Big Box Sets such a success, we thank you, and now we present another - The Big Vivaldi Set.

1. We've been trying to release our 2013 boxes on or close to the composer's birthday. Logistically, it's a huge challenge and most of the time, we just miss it. The logistics of moving digital boxed sets with hundreds of tracks - and doing our best to insure accuracy and fidelity on each - it's time consuming.

2. Again, we enjoy reading all the reviews - thank you for your passionate responses.

3. Vivaldi and The Bach Guild - in examining the letters of Seymour Solomon, one of the founders of Vanguard and The Bach Guild, he is constantly striving for a new experience, either technologically or musicologically (his two professional loves). One of the great surprises when you get in the Way-Back Machine that was his filing cabinets is understanding that something we take for granted was once a very precious and rare thing.

4. And that thing that we celebrate with this Box is the music of Antonio Vivaldi. It takes so much mental energy to imagine a world where Vivaldi was rarely heard, particularly the instrumental music, that you have to go back and check the correspondence between the New York and Vienna offices of Vanguard to make sure they really were writing about a new recording of "L'estro Armonico" as if it were some kind of state secret. Utmost security must be taken, even with the tapes intentionally mislabelled as they got through customs to prevent any unforeseen leaks!

5. The performances presented in this box scan almost sixty years of recordings from The Bach Guild. However, it is apparent that The Bach Guild's interest in Vivaldi was wider than it was deep. (Many of you will immediately notice this box only runs 7.5 hours. Only!!) Because much of the focus in the early years of The Bach Guild was on vocal works, the desire to record Vivaldi might have been lesser than recording more Bach cantatas or vocal works of Handel.

6. However, Vivaldi served two purposes - as a musicological benchmark, and as a showcase for the instrumental artists who performed this newly discovered treasure trove of concertos. Alirio Diaz, Julius Baker, the musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic and the inexhaustible I Solisti di Zagreb's Antonio Janigro all embraced Vivaldi, and got to cherry pick the best of these new concertos that were coming out of the libraries, unearthed by music scholars with sudden free reign to this material.

7. Again, it's slightly insane to apologize for only 7+ hours of music for .99 - but what you have here is almost every note of Vivaldi that The Bach Guild recorded. We have eliminated duplications, substituting the new Vivaldi concerto recordings from the late 1970s, which have been, oddly, harder to get than the marvelous 1950s-era I Solisti and Chamber Orchestra of Vienna State Opera recordings. We wanted to give our members a better sounding choice - and fresher material as well.

8. As always, we do try to offer our Amazon customers some unreleased goodies. Frankly, as a percentage of overall time, this box represents our best effort so far. Almost the entire box - except for about 90 minutes worth of material -- makes its digital debut with this release. The "La Cetra" and "L'estro Armonico" collections and the "Virtuoso Vivaldi" concerti - these performances have been very difficult to find in any recorded format in 15 years. So while it may only be 7.5 hours long - almost all of it is brand new to the digital world.

9. As we mentioned earlier, we have made a choice to prefer newer, stereo takes rather than mono performances. This should make the listening experience better for our listeners. We are still working to try and get better quality files included!

10. Our next box is our birthday tribute to our namesake - our first "sequel" on our first birthday - The Big Bach Set 2. Come celebrate, as close to the Big Guy's birthday as we can possible make it! (Note - we will definitely miss Haydn's birthday on Easter Sunday but we are working on a Big Haydn Box to come in the weeks after Bach 2.)
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2013
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
I've enjoyed Vivaldi's music for years, so I thought this collection would be ideal. Sadly, I was disappointed by the lack of variety.

Vivaldi wrote hundreds of concertos for solo instrument(s) and strings; about 2/3 have violin as solo instrument, the remaining 1/3 feature bassoon, cello, oboe, flute, viola d'amore, recorder, lute, or mandolin. So I was expecting roughly this same distributioni in this collection: roughly 1/3 featuring some of the other instruments.

I personally enjoy the variety of these other instruments. So I was greatly disappointed that this collection seems to feature violin very heavily. I found some numbers in Wikipedia, although other sources might be slightly different.

Vivaldi wrote 39 concertos featuring bassoon; this collection includes only three. He wrote 30 featuring cello; this collection includes only four. Of four featuring trumpet, this collection includes one. He wrote 22 featuring solo flute; this collection includes only two. Of 48 or more for oboe (solo, or in combination with various other instruments), this collection includes NONE. Fourteen of Vivaldi's works feature pipe organ; only one is included in this collection. Of ten conceros with horns, this collection includes NONE. Of 12 concertos with recorder, this collection includes NONE.

I like the variety of the concertos for multiple instruments, such as RV.569 for 2 oboes, 2 horns, bassoon, cello, strings; it's omitted from this collection. Also missing are RV.559 and RV.560 (for 2 clarinets and 2 oboes); RV.88, RV.98, RV.99, RV.107, and RV.570 (for flute, oboe, violin, bassoon, and strings). And many other works for "diverse instruments" are missing.

In conclusion, I find this collection to be disappointing. It's not really a good cross-section of Vivaldi's concertos; it's mostly just a collection of his works featuring violin. It's a shame. Vivaldi wrote an interesting range of concertos; this collection is boring, and it does him a disservice.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: MP3 Music
Wonderful music, as we've come to expect! Love it! I also really appreciate the high percentage of stereo recordings.

One correction: Tracks 80-82 are L'estro Armonico #6, RV356, NOT the RV 317 violin concerto. Of course, the set also includes another version of this piece. I figured this out because both the RV317 and RV356 recordings are also in the Gustav Leonhardt set as well. So it's no loss if you have both sets.

Another minor revision: I assume all three movements of the Estros Armonico #10 and #11 are performed by the same musicians. I'll assume majority rule: If they're listed for 2 of the 3 movements, I'll copy it over to the third.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2013
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
Until I heard this set, I thought that all Vivaldi sounded like the Four Seasons. This package includes some of his mandolin concerti, which couldn't be more different. Very refreshing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2013
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
I bought this on a whim. Under $2 is worthy. You get a lot of music, which seems to be a perfectly fine quality for I can't tell if there is anything wrong. I'm not an audiophile... I do know when something sounds bad, and this was fine. I'm happy with this purchase.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2013
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
The Big Box sets are like super sizing at McDonalds. Lots of stuff, but it ain't steak. Having said that, all of the big box sets that I have purchased have good sound quality, are a terrific overview of the particular composer, are and insanely good deal.
I like McDonalds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
99¢ for hours and hours of music wouldn't be worth even that much were the music and performances not worthwhile.

Fortunately, they are quite worthwhile on this latest installment in Vanguard's "Big Box" series of MP3 downloads.

There's no vocal music in this collection, but that's OK. The various concertos make for pleasurable listening all on their own.

This music doesn't have a wide dynamic range, which makes it a good candidate for MP3 listening on your favorite portable device.

Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2013
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
an amazing value, not just for the giveaway price, but wonderful rich sound and, most important, GREAT performances! Thank you!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2013
Format: MP3 Music
Imagine back when this music was first heard - the composer, his friends and family, aristocratic/royal settings... all had very infrequent access to this amazing man's musical imagination and creativity. Now, fast forward to today. 7 and a half hours of his music made available to millions (if they have the desire to acquire it) for less than a buck! My thanks to the folks that made this happen and for the entire big box project. Best regards from Oregon.
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on June 18, 2014
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
I listen to this at work and for 99 cents you cannot beat the value you get for your money
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