I love transcriptions. They offer a new and ear-catching timbral view of the old warhorses, and a new kick to the old routine. Sometimes transcriptions can even be illuminating, and reveal things about the composition that weren’t apparent in the original, especially in the keyboard works of Bach, where assigning widely differentiated timbres to the different voices brings out the contrapuntal writing. As the Goldberg Variations, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons has been a popular candidate for transcriptions.
Audiophile Factor: High!
Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
Performers: Amsterdam Guitar Trio
Number of Discs: 1
Size: 1.58 GB
Purists might object that all those transcriptions are in fact a betrayal of Vivaldi’s very project in The Four Seasons, which was not so much to celebrate the sounds of nature as to celebrate the ability of a string ensemble to conjure and imitate the sounds of nature. The 18th century was fascinated with those games of artifice imitating and mirroring nature. The challenge there for Vivaldi was double, first because of the homogeneity of timbres of the string ensemble, and second because the strings would not seem, on the face of it, the most appropriate instruments to evoke all those sounds – birds, winds soft and violent, gently flowing waters, hunting horns, barking dogs, howling beast.
Not that this objection has ever been raised, and not that it has prevented anyone to offer their transcription, starting with the 18th century version with hurdy-gurdy and/or bagpipe of Nicolas Chédeville, Les Saisons Amusantes. In this field, listener’s delight is the only rule, not any consideration on “the essence” of Vivaldi’s Seasons. Nonetheless, a guitar ensemble doesn’t go some way in the direction of the original concept, because of its homogeneity of timbres (even more here due to the absence of the harpsichord continuo, which does bring an element of timbral heterogeneity into the original version) and because the guitars are as alien to those sounds of nature as the bowed strings – in truth, even more.
Nonetheless, the beauty of Vivaldi’s music comes through, the original is beautifully suggested, and the sound of the guitars conveys a dreamy and pastoral sweetness of its own that I find much in situation and very taking in its own right, without falling into the saccharine sentimentality of the version for Koto ensemble. Also, the loss of the variety of the original colors of the string ensemble enables one to hear the Seasons as “pure” music rather than as descriptive music – and it’s beautiful music. In fact, as my reference to Manuel de Falla indicates, it doesn’t even sound to me specifically 18th century (the atmosphere of Alexandre Lagoya playing the famous tune “Jeux Interdits” from the René Clément film came to mind).
The arrangement for three guitars is skillfully done. Their Autumn is transposed one tone up, and Winter a semi-tone down (in the latter case, probably to avoid the flats of Vivaldi’s F minor key). The movement that changes most is the Largo of Autumn, where the guitars can’t sustain a long note as violins do and make up with arpeggio filling. In the other Largos, the Amsterdam Guitar Trio add imaginative and profuse ornamentation. I find their version preferable to the similar arrangement for guitar quartet by the Tetra Guitar Quartet it’s more gentle, tonally more beautiful, less metallic-sounding. The recording was made in October 1983 and the sonics are excellent.
Pay attention: the rip is almost rough… only few, very little ticks and the silent parts btw. the tracks were cleaned
|Le Quattro Stagioni, Opus 8, Nr. 1-4, Arranged For 3 Guitars|
|La Primavera: Concerto Nr. 1 In E-major, RV 269|
|L’Estate: Concerto Nr. 2 In G-minor, RV 315|
|A4||Allegro Non Molto||5:58|
|A6||Tempo Impetuoso D’Estate||3:03|
|L’Autunno: Concerto Nr. 3 In F-major, RV 293|
|L’Inverno: Concerto Nr. 4 In F-minor, RV 297|
|B4||Allegro Non Molto||3:20|
Analyzed folder: /192k Vivaldi – Le 4 Stagioni – Amsterdam Guitar Trio
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR13 -3.19 dB -19.73 dB A1 La Primavera- Concerto Nr. 1 In E-major, RV 269 – Allegro.aif
DR13 -5.00 dB -21.76 dB A2 La Primavera- Concerto Nr. 1 In E-major, RV 269 – Largo.aif
DR14 -1.02 dB -19.80 dB A3 La Primavera- Concerto Nr. 1 In E-major, RV 269 – Allegro.aif
DR13 -1.45 dB -19.43 dB A4 L’Estate- Concerto Nr. 2 In G-minor, RV 315 – Allegro Non Molto.aif
DR15 -4.16 dB -24.41 dB A5 L’Estate- Concerto Nr. 2 In G-minor, RV 315 – Adagio.aif
DR13 -2.70 dB -19.04 dB A6 L’Estate- Concerto Nr. 2 In G-minor, RV 315 – Tempo Impetuoso D’Estate.aif
DR13 -2.84 dB -20.20 dB B1 L’Autunno- Concerto Nr. 3 In F-major, RV 293 – Allegro.aif
DR14 -8.85 dB -26.12 dB B2 L’Autunno- Concerto Nr. 3 In F-major, RV 293 – Adagio.aif
DR13 -0.80 dB -19.05 dB B3 L’Autunno- Concerto Nr. 3 In F-major, RV 293 – Allegro.aif
DR13 -2.94 dB -20.80 dB B4 L’Inverno- Concerto Nr. 4 In F-minor, RV 297 – Allegro Non Molto.aif
DR13 -10.58 dB -27.25 dB B5 L’Inverno- Concerto Nr. 4 In F-minor, RV 297 – Largo.aif
DR14 -1.81 dB -21.32 dB B6 L’Inverno- Concerto Nr. 4 In F-minor, RV 297 – Allegro.aif
Number of files: 12
Official DR value: DR13
- Composed By – Antonio Vivaldi
- Design – Brordus Bunder
- Engineer – Adriaan Verstijnen
- Ensemble – Amsterdam Guitar Trio
- Guitar, Arranged By – Helenus de Rijke, Johan Dorrestein, Olga Franssen
- Photography By [Amsterdam Guitar Trio] – Brordus Bunder
- Photography By [Amsterdam] – Paul Huf
- Sleeve Notes – John W. Duarte
- RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
- TT: Vintage (1982) Yamaha PX-3
- Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
Cartridge: ZYX 50R Bloom
- Phono amp: Audio Research SP15 own tube phono section
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Pre Amp: Audio Research SP15
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
- Software: iZotope RX 4 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
- Super light de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no de-noising
- DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
- Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
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