Mullova, Carmignola: Vivaldi - Concertos for Two Violins (APE)
Mullova, Carmignola: Vivaldi - Concertos for Two Violins (APE)

Orchestra: Venice Baroque Orchestra
Conductor: Andrea Marcon
Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
Audio CD
SPARS Code: DDD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Archiv
Size: 306 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Concerto for 2 Violins, Strings and Continuo in G major, R. 516 – 1. Allegro molto
02. Concerto for 2 Violins, Strings and Continuo in G major, R. 516 – 2. Andante (molto)
03. Concerto for 2 Violins, Strings and Continuo in G major, R. 516 – 3. Allegro

04. Concerto in D major for 2 violins, strings & continuo, RV511 – 1. Allegro molto
05. Concerto in D major for 2 violins, strings & continuo, RV511 – 2. Largo
06. Concerto in D major for 2 violins, strings & continuo, RV511 – 3. Allegro

07. Concerto in D minor for 2 violins, strings & continuo, RV514 – 1. Allegro non molto
08. Concerto in D minor for 2 violins, strings & continuo, RV514 – 2. Adagio
09. Concerto in D minor for 2 violins, strings & continuo, RV514 – 3. Allegro molto

10. Concerto in B flat major for 2 violins, strings & continuo, RV524 – 1. Allegro
11. Concerto in B flat major for 2 violins, strings & continuo, RV524 – 2. Andante
12. Concerto in B flat major for 2 violins, strings & continuo, RV524 – 3. Allegro

13. Concerto in C minor for 2 violins, strings & continuo, RV509 – 1. Allegro ma poco e cantabile
14. Concerto in C minor for 2 violins, strings & continuo, RV509 – 2. Andante molto
15. Concerto in C minor for 2 violins, strings & continuo, RV509 – 3. Allegro

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16. Concerto in A minor for 2 Violins, Strings, and Continuo, R.523 – 1. Allegro molto
17. Concerto in A minor for 2 Violins, Strings, and Continuo, R.523 – 2. Largo
18. Concerto in A minor for 2 Violins, Strings, and Continuo, R.523 – 3. Allegro

Great Double Violin Concerti

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.
This disc includes six excellent works, probably all from the 1720’s and 30’s. The G major concerto is a ruckus of joy with hints of rustic elements. The virtuosity of this work is very impressive. It has an unusual slow movement that is quite pensive. Vivaldi arranged this work as a duo sonata with optional bass. Legend has it that Vivaldi and his father preformed these duos together. The D major concerto is the most festive work on this disc, and is also busting at the seams. Vivaldi finds moments of reflection and spontaneity within the hedonism. The D minor concerto is much more down to earth. It is in the tone of something more northern and severe with virtuosity subdued a bit to fit the somber tone. The B flat major concerto is perhaps the perfect mix of the lyrical and the lively, and is one of Vivaldi’s best works. The appealing opening melodic sequence of the 1st movement will stick in your head for life. The slow movement is an oddly hypnotic masterpiece. The C minor is on the fence between anger and sadness with dashes of violence, dotting glassy lakes of lyricism. The A minor concerto is an accomplished and slightly puzzling work that brings to mind a pumped-up version of L’estro Armonico concerti. This work is destined to become a Vivaldi classic as people become familiar with it.
This disc is a must have for any classical music lover. Both Mullova and Carmignola are on the top of their games as is the Venice Baroque Orchestra, which sounds better than ever. However, this recording is not a personality contest between two of the great violinists of our day, rather it is cooperation toward a wall of heavenly sound.

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