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Vivaldi: Double Concertos

4.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 11, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Two of today's most charismatic, attractive and original violinists join forces for an album of Double Concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. Viktoria Mullova, "the most elegant, refined and sweetly expressive violinist on the planet" (The Chicago Tribune), and Giuliano Carmignola, "a prince among baroque violinists" (Gramophone), team up with one of the greatest early music ensembles - the Venice Baroque Orchestra under Andrea Marcon. This highly commercial repertoire has been recorded before but never by a world-class pair such as Mullova and Carmignola. Thus the album is very likely to become a best-seller.

Review

Giuliano Carmignola is "a prince among baroque violinists." -- Gramophone

Viktoria Mullova is "the most elegant, refined and sweetly expressive violinist on the planet." -- The Chicago Tribune
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Product Details

  • Performer: Giuliano Carmignola, Viktoria Mullova
  • Orchestra: Venice Baroque Orchestra
  • Conductor: Andrea Marcon
  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
  • Audio CD (November 11, 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Archiv
  • ASIN: B0019RQTUS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,624 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andrew Judkins on January 15, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When Giuliano Carmignola jumped labels from Sony to Deutsche Grammophon it was a great day for Vivaldi and classical music in general. Although Carmignola's Sony era performances are nearly as good as his current playing, the engineering of the recordings dragged them down. Detsche Grammophon, on the other hand, puts you in the front row of a live performance with their engineering. This CD of works for two violins is Carmignola's best yet as far as sound quality goes.
Among his many inventions, Vivaldi developed a double concerto, which was basically an offshoot of his virtuosic take on the solo concerto form, rather than a streamlined version of the Corelli concerto grosso. These works present the same challenges and expressive possibilities of his solo concertos. Vivaldi is not interested in weaving complex textures in these works, but has rather simple and noble goals of keeping both violinists busy and sounding good. That might sound silly, but that is what Vivaldi values more than a lot of composers--sounding good, tickling the human ear with pleasures. For this reason Vivaldi uses lots of parallel 3rds which sparkle more than any interval in high register. This is also why there are so many canon passages. The double concerto format works out great for Vivaldi. These works are expressive, entertaining and virtuosic delights. However, it is a little harder to listen to many of these works in a row, as compared to solo concerti, because the texture is more limited. There are great conversations between soloists, but each soloist has to wait his turn, which slows the journey of the music and limits Vivaldi's spontaneity some. But they payoff in felicitous harmony, imitations and chasing canons is a worthwhile departure.
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Format: Audio CD
This is an excellent Vivaldi disc. Two superb violinists and a fine ensemble produce something which really stands out among the huge number of Vivaldi recordings available.

If Viktoria Mullova has ever made a less-than-excellent disc I have yet to hear it. Giuliano Carmignola and Andrea Marcon are less consistent, but here they are on top form and the result is terrific. The two soloists are plainly having a whale of a time in the quicker movements; their enjoyment is palpable but their virtuosity is always put to the service of Vivaldi rather than as a showcase for their egos. The precision of some of the fast duets is quite remarkable, and they bring genuine feeling to the slower movements.

Marcon and the VBO are equally good – flexible and supple, they give an ideal framework for the soloists and play some very fine tuttis in their own right. It is a pleasure to hear Vivaldi played as though it really means something, excellently captured by the recording. This disc shows what a very fine composer Vivaldi was, as well as being a pleasure to listen to.

I have to say that an entire CD of Vivaldi violin concerti begins to pall for me, however well they are performed, but listened to one or two at a time these pieces are an absolute delight. It's a terrific disc, very warmly recommended.
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...in which "The Four Seasons" hadn't yet been discovered, and instead the musical public knew Vivaldi based on concertos such as these. He (and we) would occupy a different point on the time/space continuum.

Yeah, yeah yeah, and the Chicago Cubs would win the world series. Vladmir Putin would embrace democracy. I must be over-caffeinated, but a guy can dream, right?

BOTTOM LINE: I've hoarded Vivaldi recordings for going on 30 years now. This music isn't the "Red Priest" I grew up with. This recording just takes my breath away.

Seriously, I can't say anything more eloquent about this CD that hasn't already been said, except: "More, please."

All hats off to the dynamic duo: Giuliano Carmignola, without whom...etc., and also the magnificent Vicktoria Mullova. This woman just spins absolute gold with her violin. I have a small double-locked treasure chest with all of my favorite Mullova recordings, to ward off roving bandits...

The world of Vivaldi has been turned on its head over the past decade. To catch up with this movement, (and exorcise the dreaded elevator-music shade of Vivaldi of the 1960s), try:

1.) the other fine recordings of Giuliano Carmignola who has been at the cutting edge.
2.) Dip into the efforts of various groups involved in the current Vivaldi Edition underway on the Naive Label
3.) Don't forget Rachel Podger who miraculously breathed new life into La Stravaganza (op 4.);
4.) the new Vivaldi Edition on Brilliant Classic, featuring new renditions of the numbered opuses, cello and oboe concerti by the phenomenal Federico Gugliemo and his band L’Arte dell’Arco
5.
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This set of concertos, along with the concertos for single violin (e.g. Archive 4776055) and the concertos for oboe, clarinet and bassoon (e.g. Naive 30409) reflect what Vivaldi really was all about. The "famous" and terribly over worked Four Seasons concertos are very simplistic compared to these wonderful works. Carmignola and Mullova have a perfect touch for the life and enthusiasm that truly are at the core of Vivaldi's important contributions to the Baroque repertoire and the Venice Baroque Orchestra compliments the music and the violinists wonderfully. One can easily imagine this entorage playing in the very special small churches and other venues in Venice that surround the Ospedale della Pieta (the orphanage where Vivaldi was employed for most of his composing lifetime). We know that J.S. Bach transcribed many of Vivaldf's works and that his exposure to Vivaldi's concertos for violin had a profound influence on his approach to melody and structure. Highly recommended.
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