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Vivaldi: Four Seasons (Transcribed)

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Vivaldi' The Four Seasons are among the most popular of Baroque concertos and have inspired musicians to perform them in their original form and in many different guises. Following the lead given by J.S. Bach when he transcribed a number of Vivaldi'

Review

Sometimes, arranging orchestral music for piano can place it in a whole new light. I once heard Beethoven's "Pastorale" as arranged for piano by Glenn Gould, and it sounded startling and New Age. Hearing Vivaldi on piano, you notice the music's flaws. But the occasional repetitiveness and flat-footed rhythms gain a new charm, like Philip Glass. The piano also makes you appreciate Vivaldi's moments of sublimity --the slow movement of "Winter," for instance, which shines in its genius and simplicity. Biegel, who just turned out a marvelous set of gently improvised-upon Mozart sonatas, adds the same discreet embellishments to these pieces. He shows you new things in them. As a follow-up to "The Four Seasons," he plays a lute concerto and a mandolin concerto, both arranged by Andrew Gentile. This is a great novelty at a bargain price, and a bright new look at a composer we thought we knew inside out. -- The Buffalo News, Mary Kunz Goldman, October 18, 2009
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Product Details

  • Conductor: --
  • Composer: Vivaldi
  • Audio CD (June 30, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0027DQHF0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #367,846 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. R. Trtek on October 27, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I'm usually more partial to orchestrations of piano pieces than I am to piano transcriptions that go the other way. And in this case I was rather skeptical about hearing The Four Seasons on keyboard alone. After one listen, however, I'm enthusiastic about the result. There's a new, if not dramatically different, perspective one gets on the quartet of concertos, and while I'm still going to be listening them most often in original form, I know that I'll periodically be revisiting this disc. Actually, as one other reviewer mentioned, the transcriptions of the C major Mandolin Concerto and the D major Lute Concerto are in their way even more interesting. For an album that I thought would be a trite novelty, this one turned out to have some finely prepared -- and performed -- substance to it.
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Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons' suffers a fate common to many classical masterpieces, that of being overplayed to the point of being annoying. It's rare that a new recording of the piece has anything original to offer. Jeffrey Biegel's thoughtful piano arrangement is one of those rare ones that successfully breathe new life into an old workhorse.

A transcription for piano naturally poses the question of how the composer might have rendered the piece differently than the arranger. Since the piano didn't exist during most of Vivaldi's life, and to my knowledge he did not compose anything for piano, this perhaps affords the performer even more freedom than usual to employ all the capabilities of the modern instrument. Jeffrey uses this freedom to great advantage, and combined with highly precise technique, has produced a genuinely interesting new interpretation of Vivaldi's venerable classic.

Two less well known pieces, the Mandolin Concerto in C major and the Lute Concerto in D major, are also included in this recording. Being mostly unfamiliar with these works, I was able to enjoy them without constantly comparing them mentally to their orchestral counterparts as I did with the Four Seasons.

The sound quality is a little bit dry, with little ambience, but that's rather easy to fix with the turn of a few electronic knobs.

Overall, this is a very worthwhile new recording of an old classic, and I've already enjoyed it several times since it arrived earlier today.
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Format: Audio CD
Jeffrey Biegel takes risks. Others do the same. From Captain Scott's Last Journal, written at the Antarctica, `We took risks, we knew we took them, things have come out against us, therefore we have no cause for complaint.' But for Biegel his `risk', that of transcribing Vivaldi's Four Seasons for the keyboard when Vivaldi himself never wrote for the keyboard (or rather embellishing the Ricordi piano transcription), things have turned out FOR him. These transcriptions - the Vivaldi Four Seasons, and the Mandolin Concerto in C major and Lute Concerto in D major (the latter two transcribed for the piano by Andrew Gentile) - dance off the keyboard in Biegel's talented hands and offer an entirely new sound to music we hear often in the instrumental versions.

In the liner notes, Andrew Gentile quotes Liszt as saying, `in matters of translation there are some exactitudes that are the equivalent of infidelities.' So though there is great controversy about the entire concept of `transcriptions', when they are done with the finesse offered on this recording all bets are off. They work, they simply work in Jeffrey Biegel's hands. He manages to find the `climate' of each of the Seasons just the way the original violin concerto versions do and the manner in which he embellishes and embroiders these works - without having any preconceived guide as to how Vivaldi would have allowed a keyboard to function - is what makes these pieces sail into the atmosphere and transport us.

So if you think you thoroughly understand these old chestnuts of Vivaldi's creation, sit back and be prepared to discover them anew. Biegel is not only an accomplished pianist, he also is a musical wizard who takes in everything around him, processes it, and out come definitive presentations that keep us all on our toes. This is a great CD for the season of Christmas; Winter has never sounded so carved of tinkley ice! Grady Harp, December 12
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All of the pieces on this CD are quite familiar. But this is the first time I have heard piano versions of them. It is a most pleasant and agreeable experience. Maybe this production falls into the category of "pop-classical" music; but I find myself giving it repeated spins.I would put this album in the category of "downright" enjoyable.
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