Vivaldi: Concerti per violino XI

‘Per Anna Maria’
Vivaldi Edition vol. 71
Fabio Biondi, Europa Galante
naïve OP 7368

Whoever it was who infamously quipped that Vivaldi had written the same concerto several hundred times clearly had never heard the Red Priest’s Concerto in D RV 229 – I just about jumped out of my seat when it started! The double-stopping soloist did more than rouse the band with the dramatic opening bars. Even if there is (inevitably, given that music of the period was largely dominated by ritornello form) a degree of repetitiveness across a large number of his works, the six concertos on this wonderful recording (together with an ornamented version of a slow movement re-used in another) demonstrate the composer’s richness of imagination and command both of his instrument and musical form. All in major keys, the solo parts are all that remains of one source – a volume of 31 pieces (including 24 by Vivaldi) that belonged to one of the Pietà’s stars, Anna Maria. The wonderful Fabio Biondi and his band, Europa Galante (3322 strings and continuo), bring energy and sparkle, and reflection and pathos in equal measure for some exemplary performances of this repertoire. The typically informative booklet note sets the scene for a new appreciation (on my part, at least) for the women behind the grilles of the ospedali…

Brian Clark

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