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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 10, 2014
Although Vivaldi wrote hundreds of pieces of music, folks probably recognize him best for The Four Seasons, the little three-movement tone poems with their chirping birds, galumphing horses, barking dogs, dripping icicles, and howling winds. The composer meant them to accompany descriptive sonnets, making up the first four concertos of a longer work he wrote in 1723 titled Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione ("The Contest between Harmony and Invention"). Most people hardly remember the other concertos in the set.

Under Ms. Meyer, the familiar Spring concerto is appropriately cheerful, made even more so due to the violinist not overdoing anything in the piece. You won't find any exaggerated tempos (although hers are quick and spirited in a refined manner); no unusual dynamic contrasts; no extraordinary slowing down or speeding up for dramatic effect. Ms. Meyers keeps everything moving along at a fairly conventional, though stimulating pace. It's probably the way most listeners want their Seasons--enjoyably colorful and invigorating, without being annoyingly different just for the sake of being different. The Largo, with its meadows and fields, sounds properly peaceful, yet it never lags. And the final Allegro capers along cheerfully.

Throughout all of the music, Ms. Meyers's violin sounds exquisitely gorgeous in tone and playing, and Maestro Lockington's accompaniment with the ECO is precise and agreeable.

Summer gets an even more highly characterized reading than Spring, with the season's heat oppressive, the birds chatty, the wind picking up nicely, and the threat of storm just a tad menacing. When the summer storm does arrive, it does so in a whirlwind of energy. Very invigorating.

Ms. Meyer begins Autumn a touch too energetically for my taste, but to each his own. The music soon enough slips away into a fitting, if not altogether traditional-sounding slumber. Then, the closing hunt goes well, if, oddly, a bit less animated than I would have expected.

Winter has always been my favorite segment of the Seasons, with its icicles and frozen landscape, its hurrying to warmth, its delectable Largo by the hearth, and its final hints of ice and chill outside. It's here that Ms. Meyers and company outdo themselves in musical representation. As listeners, we should see and feel these surroundings, and we do.

Coupled with The Four Seasons are Vivaldi's Concerto for Three Violins in F major, RV551, which makes a handy companion piece. What is more out of the way is Arvo Part's Passacaglia, which the composer wrote in 2003 for violin and piano and later arranged for violin and orchestra as we find it here. It's true the music of the Baroque period inspired Part to write the piece, yet it remains a curious choice to complement the Vivaldi. Yet complement the Vivaldi it does, especially as it directly follows his Winter concerto. The two have a surprisingly lot in common, as Ms. Meyers points out in her reading.

Producer Susan Napodano DelGiorno and engineer Phil Rowlands recorded the music for Entertainment One at Henry Wood Hall, London, in 2013. The sound is pretty typical of today's better digital recordings. It's ultraclean and clear, a little bright and forward, with a somewhat glossy sheen on the strings. What appears to be a harpsichord sounds, for reasons unknown, so far in the background it's practically in another room. Ms. Meyers's violin shows up in the foreground, not distractingly forward but close enough to remind us whose show this is. Midrange transparency is OK, as are ambient bloom, frequency extremes, and overall dynamics. Not bad sound and more than adequate for the occasion.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
0Comment28 of 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 4, 2014
It is no secret that i am a huge fan of Anne Akiko Meyers. When I heard that she would be recording the Four Seasons I knew that i would purchase it, but to be honest I didn't anticipate that it would be so much better than the ones that I have in my collection. Her interpretations are far different than all of the ones that mimic all of the other recordings. Her tone on the newest violin (that Guarnari del Gesu, rumored to be the world's most valuable) is perfect for this set of concertos. Her phrasing is unique and very much idiosyncratic. I appreciated the inclusion of the Arvo Part Passacaglia that separated the Triple Concerto from the Four Seasons. Anne was able to over dub all three parts of the Triple Concerto herself. It was very impressive and made the performance sound more unified in its execution. 5 star review is to low. but Amazon does not allow eleventy-billion stars.
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on February 5, 2014
Anne Akiko Meyers does it once again; she takes well know works and breathes new life into them. One such work is Antonio Vivaldi's Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons). This is not only part of the main repertoire of many chamber orchestras but parts of it have been heard in movies, soundtracks and outdoor cafés. It begs the question, why another recording? I can think of three reasons - it's a lovely piece and deserves to be recorded repeatedly and Ms. Meyers, along with David Lockington and the English Chamber Orchestra bring a unique realization to the piece and, finally, in this recording, there is this tone that comes out, from time to time, that is lyrical, haunting and sends an exquisite thrill through you. That is to say, magic occurs.

For full review: wp.me/p2XCwQ-w8
0Comment15 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 1, 2014
I don't know much about the Ms Meyers, the violin, or the piece she is playing. In fact, this is the first classical CD I have ever purchased. I think I spent my money well.
While at work, on an Army Base, I play this CD very softly at my desk. I noticed several young soldiers, and a few old soliders, asking me about what I was playing. They enjoyed the beautiful playing as much as I.
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on February 4, 2014
I've been waiting for this recording to show up for weeks, I pre-ordered with great anticipation. Now that I finally have it in my hands, I'm not disappointed. Quite to the contrary, I'm wholeheartedly thrilled with this addition to my music library. The sound of this disc sparkles, and the spirited performances make me want to get up and dance. This isn't your grandmother's performance of the Four Seasons. It's informed by many different approaches -- lushly passionate at times, starkly cold at others, depicting the music of the seasons brilliantly. This is now my go-to performance for the Four Seasons.
0Comment7 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 5, 2014
I have always loved "The Four Seasons" and this album does not disappoint. Anne Akiko Meyers is on top of her game. Best recording that I've heard.
0Comment7 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 4, 2014
The sound of Meyers' violin and the brilliant renditions of the Vivaldi Four Seasons, Triple Concerto are a total adrenaline rush. It sparkles and sizzles and the hushed sections are soulful and poetic. My all time favorite violinist! Thank you for an incredibly beautiful recording, notes, pictures are amazing too...
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on April 11, 2014
SUPERB! There is a back story to this violin...an NPR article you can google...fascinating. What a spectacular sound, what a spectacular performance. I can't say the word 'spectacular' enough here....
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on March 9, 2014
The strength and poetry of Anne Akiko Meyers is so riveting. The backing musicians are in perfect tune (pardon the pun) with her.
A must have!
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on March 9, 2014
Another Four Seasons recording?!? Yes! Anne Akiko Meyers' interpretation is traditional yet still unique and this is the first ever recording of the ~$16M Vieuxtemps Guarneri del Gesù violin.
0Comment2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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