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Vivaldi: Concert for the Prince of Poland Import

13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, July 9, 2002
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Here, at a bargain price, is a real treat: the lively, elegant, musically alert Andrew Manze leading and playing a handful of wonderful Vivaldi concerti preceded by a little Sinfonia. The concerti, all backed up by the usual strings, are for various combinations of instruments. Two are straight violin concerti (playful and bright). One is for violin and three echo violins that repeat what the lead violin has done, but at a distance from the other performers (very entertaining). The most beautiful is for lute and viola d'amore (a gentle, dark texture). The CD ends with one scored for recorders, chalumeaux, mandolins, therobos, cello, and special violins, which is a riot of sound, with a particularly jaunty first movement. The disc's title refers to a visit to Venice in 1740 by Frederick Christian, the Prince Elector of Saxony, during which Vivaldi's music was performed. He was a lucky prince, and we're lucky to have this CD. As usual, Manze and the Academy of Ancient Music are superb. --Robert Levine
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Academy of Ancient Music
  • Conductor: Andrew Manze
  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
  • Audio CD (July 9, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B00006644L
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,731 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By C. Collins on October 11, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The Academy of Ancient Music has done a wonderful job with this CD of the 4 Concertos written by Vivaldi in honor of the vist of Prince Frederick Christian, Prince of Poland, to Venice. The works were spread out over several evenings so that they could be enjoyed by the illustrious guests. The Academy of Ancient Music does a superb job with this collection of music that required use of instruments rarely used today.

Sinfonia in G major dazzles us with joyful pomp. The third movement echoes the Autumn section of the Four Seasons by capturing the sound of the harvest folk dance.

Violin Concerto in E-flat major is incredibly well constructed, almost mathematical in composition, with passages building one upon the other. The first movement builds gradually but the third movement slips and slides like children in a playground.

Concerto in D minor has courtly beinnings. Like much of Vivaldi, the violins sometimes are allowed to take the foreground with a somewhat rustic power, yet they are usually balanced by the pure elegance of the other instruments and melodies that echo with intensity. The lute accompanies the violin and other string instruments with its Renaissance sound. Lute strings individually plucked slow the piece and increase the intensity of anticipation in the second movement.

In Concerto in A major, Vivaldi uses violins with three echo violins. In the CD program they explain that when this piece was played for the Polish Prince, the primary violinist was visible but that they echo violinists were hidden around the concert hall, which I can only guess was a delightful and playful game to play with the listening audience of the time. In this concerto, the violins sound so birdlike as they echo each other's songs back and forth.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Andrew Manze and the Academy of Ancient Music
again in this recording doing a wonderful job
the performances are splendid, the acoustics
are also wonderful. The Academy of Ancient Music
plays with clarity. Indeed, with this recording
the music of Vivaldi reached perfection!
Highly recomended!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steven Ledbetter on January 12, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Most Vivaldi recordings contain programs selected either by the medium (all bassoon concertos, for example) or by the opus number (all the concertos from Opus 8). This one is utterly unique, and that fact--in addition to the splendid performances--makes it especially interesting. The CD contains music performed (and at least partly written for) a specific event in Venice--a visit by Prince Frederick Christian, the son of the King of Poland. He was known to be very interested in music, so 3 special concerts were offered during his visit. One of these, on March 21, 1740, was organized and directed by Vivaldi.

The evening's program included a vocal piece--a serenata called "The Chorus of Muses" by the great playwright Carlo Goldoni--with its sections introduced by four concertos composed by Vivaldi. (The music of the serenata is lost, and even the name of the composer is unknown.)

Vivaldi's contribution to the evening was commissioned by the Pietà, the orphanage whose all-female orchestra he had made famous earlier in his career. These concertos may very well be his last works, because soon after the festive performance, he moved to Vienna, where he died in poverty the following year.

So listening to this recording not only lets us hear fine performances of some late Vivaldi works (still amazing for the variety of scoring and compositional approaches after having composed so much music over so many years), but it also transports us, in a kind of musical time machine, to a period and lifestyle that has certainly disappeared in the last 250 years. We know from his diary that the Prince particularly enjoyed one "echo" concerto (in which several instruments were seated at a distance for special echo effects).

It is an unusual and delightful way to encounter Vivaldi.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By DeeCeeP on November 4, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I bought this fantastic CD over a year ago and it became my most cherished 'Classics' possession. Then thieves broke in to my home and stole it along with many others. I've finally had it replaced by the insurance company, and am now revisting the beautiful sounds of this program. Superb playing, great collection of works, and the usual sublime recording quality from a HM production. This has to be one of the essential Vivaldi recordings, especially valued given the lower price.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By HB on September 3, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The final work on this superb CD is one of Vivaldi's true masterworks. Like his incredibly famous Four Seasons, this work has true inspiration and a sound that is second to none. This Concerto in C is written for an astonishing array of diverse instruments. My favorite is the one that sounds just like a clarinet, although the clarinet, as we know it today, was not invented until decades later. This is a work that musicians just seem to absolutely adore. This is my third recording of this piece and in each case the performance has had amazing enthusiasm. It is a work that should be in everybody's library. Unless you have a strong dislike for the baroque or Vivaldi, you should enjoy this music. The rest of the music here is standard Vivaldi. It is interesting and has wonderful sounds, but not really inspired. However, at the budget price, the CD is well worth the money for the one masterpiece it has.
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