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  • Vivaldi: The Four Seasons/Tartini: The Devil's Trill
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Vivaldi: The Four Seasons/Tartini: The Devil's Trill

64 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 2, 1999
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Vivaldi: The Four Seasons/Tartini: The Devil's Trill + Carmen Fantasie (+ Tartini: Sonata "Devil's Trill")
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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We've grown so accustomed to seeing violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter gracing album covers in her flowing formal gowns that this recording of Vivaldi's masterpiece may come as a shock to her fans, at least at first glance. Mutter, it appears, has been influenced by Gap culture, looking relaxed and appearing in jeans on the album cover. To coincide with this release, she even released a music video, featuring the Trondheim Soloists and herself performing the glorious work and looking like they're having a blast. Is this the shape of classical music to come? Let's hope so. Mutter's performance here, as usual, is top-notch. The opening movements of Spring sound delightful, the Summer storm sounds frenzied, and during Winter's second movement, you can practically hear the chill being warded off by a fire. Her impeccable tone is, as usual, gorgeous and the conductorless Trondheims provide a fine, if slightly obscured, accompaniment. Filling out this disc is Tartini's Sonata in G Minor (better known as The Devil's Trill), a wonderful piece of baroque violin virtuosity. There have never been so many recordings of Four Seasons available as right now; there really is no definitive version anymore. This one, however, is easy to recommend. --Jason Verlinde

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Product Details

  • Performer: Trondheim Soloists, Tino Alexander Fjeldi, Kristin Alsos Strand
  • Orchestra: Trondheim Soloists
  • Conductor: Anne-Sophie Mutter, Giuseppe Tartini
  • Composer: Anne-Sophie Mutter, Antonio Vivaldi, Giuseppe Tartini
  • Audio CD (November 2, 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00002DE2L
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,280 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By D. B. Rathbun on February 1, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Anne Sophie will sell many copies of this album, true. The interpretation is shocking, unorthodox, true. The playing is very strong, especially for baroque, true. Are these reasons to hate this album? Perhaps, but that's not even a mater of opinion, rather merely of politics. Any way you slice it, this recording is unique. It's certainly not a particularly authentic or faithful rendition of Vivaldi's work, but it is certainly different from everything else out there. Moreover, the playing is good, precise, and the recording is well balanced and technically well done. I personally have multiple recordings of the 4 Seasons, precisely because each of them brings something different to the work. Authentic performances highlight different parts of the scoring and ornamentation, and modern orchestras simply have technologically superior violins with fuller, lush sound, and create performances with more force and expressiveness. Anne Sophie's recording is all new, it's living music. At times, it's raw and forceful, and at times it's serene, and in many regards exceeds the levels of both that other recordings achive. Some may think it goes too far at times, and I would almost include myself among those folk. I've listened to it several times, but I'm not going to buy it--it doesn't add much more for me to the 3 recordings I already have (one authentic performance, one really good modern performance with a chamber orchestra, and one with a really good soloist), since each of the three I have include passages that are particularly aggressive, particularly serene, or particularly well played. I commend the recording, however, and I'm glad I heard it.
Additionally, I would point out that Europa Galante just released an authentic instrument performance of not just the 4 seasons, but the entire Cimenta dell'armonia e dell'inventione, the larger work that the seasons concerti are part of. The performance is nuanced and innovative, quite unlike any other reading.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By NotATameLion on February 12, 2003
Format: Audio CD
You won't find many recordings of the famed Red Priest's masterpiece that can match this one. I'd put Shaham with the Orpheus CO (also on DG) in the same ballpark, but I know of no recording that reaches the levels of beauty and improvisational flare found on this recording. Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Trondheim soloists have given us a Four Seasons for the ages.
First, the obvious-Mutter wants us to "hear" this disc with our eyes. The accompanying notes are filled with the art of Gotthard Graubner as well as some lovely photos of Mutter. While some people seem to have a problem with this "commercialism," I do not (icing on the cake if you ask me).
Now, to the actual music-let me start by saying that this is no "vanity" project (this is Mutter's second recording of the work-so some seem to think her suspect). Whereas Mutter's first recording with Karajan was musically adept and refined, this Four Seasons is the product of true artistry. Pared down but not forced, insightful, but not idiosyncratic--I would say this recording is best described as a playful work of love.
This second recording by Mutter tops other Four Seasons that I have head in many ways. In particular--it, like nature, has an innate freedom. This is music that flows naturally, unpredictably, and is always full of wonder.
Where this disc truly separates itself from other recordings of the work is in its palpably frigid "Winter." Mutter's violin IS the biting cold. You might want to have a sweater handy when you listen.
The Devil's Trill, the filler piece on the disc, is possibly given an even better performance than the stunning Four Seasons. Both pieces are programmatic and fantasy driven. Both create stunning sound-pictures.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jill Tan on November 17, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This CD is best listened in comparison with Mutter's earlier recording of the Four Seasons with von Karajan: one feels that the old recording was the work of the dutiful protege, playing a technically perfect piece with the maestro, while this new recording, on the other hand, casts away all stuffy inhibitions. One can almost hear Mutter saying to Von Karajan, "Well, I did that textbook recording with you, but now let me do it MY WAY." And what fun "her way" turns out to be, with the music pulsating with energy and vibrancy at every twist. Sure, the pace sometimes seems irregular and temperamental, but the sheer fun the musicians are having simply shines through. The tones are rich, the turns of phrase unusual, and every note is heartfelt. The fast movements are vintage Mutter, with all the necessary devilry intact, while the slow passages are filled with an emotion that did not seem present in the old recording with von Karajan. If this is the new Mutter, I can't wait to hear more!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bob Zeidler on November 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Had anyone other than Anne-Sophie Mutter committed a performance of this level of passion and abandon of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, there would have been raised critical eyebrows everywhere. As an example, had it been Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, the likely reaction would have been "Well, there's Nadja being her self-indulgent self yet again." Authentic-instrument performers would steer a course clear of this type of hyperkinetic interpretation. And violinists of probity and sobriety would hew much more closely to "accepted-practice guidelines," whatever these may happen to be.

Ms. Mutter has "made her bones" over the years, with definitive performances of the core violin repertoire, as well as her recent foray into the classics of 20th century violin works. On top of it all, she went through a personal crisis, with her relatively recent widowhood, which few survive with a sense of centeredness intact. She clearly has, and, if she feels as if it's now time to cut loose with a little bit of fun, as in the Vivaldi here, who are we to fault her, anyway?

Fire and Ice really do seem appropriate descriptions for this supercharged interpretation. It is clearly a performance of "extremes," and it is hardly likely to be to everyone's taste. But it sure is to mine, after listening to literally dozens of dozers, both authentic-instrument and modern. That it works, and works as stupendously as it does, is due in large part to her formidable technique: A performance in this style would be as flat as last week's beer if the violinist couldn't cut it. And she does, in spades. Her technique is so hair-trigger perfect that it borders on the scary.

The Trondheim Soloists do a superb job in backing her (and in keeping up with her, for that matter).
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Vivaldi: The Four Seasons/Tartini: The Devil's Trill
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