Vivaldi: Concerti per due violini

Floral design

Giuliano Carmignola, Amandine Beyer, Gli Incogniti
harmonia mundi HMC 902249
RV505, 507, 510, 513, 527 & 529 (+127)

[dropcap]R[/dropcap]egular readers of these pages (and the printed ones before EMR moved online a few years ago) will know that I’ve been hankering for a good period-instrument account of these concertos for years. I first became aware of them (I think!) on a Deutsche Grammophon LP (remember them?) with Igor and David Oistrakh; brilliant violinists of their type, they made the music sparkle with excitement, the sequences being tossed back and forth between the two of them, often in the musical stratosphere. Here, Carmignola and Beyer, both outstanding violinists of their type, bring the same energy and élan to this effervescent repertoire. If Vivaldi’s solo concertos are showpieces, his concertos for two violins are like play-offs, with each of the soloists seemingly trying to out-do the other. Gli Incogniti feature two pairs of ripieno violins, and one each of viola, cello, violone, plucker and keyboard. (For RV127, a “ripieno concerto”, an extra violinist – coincidentally, the author of the booklet notes – is brought in to balance the sections, so presumably Beyer leads from the front.) These are finely paced and delivered accounts of some sparkling music – bravi!

Brian Clark

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