Vivaldi: Flute concertos [op. 10]

Carlo Ipata, auser musici
Glossa GCD 923530

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This account of Vivaldi’s six flute concertos op10 (1729) takes the subtitle of the French publication literally, using single players on each of the four string parts, but adds considerable weight in the form of a double bass, while replacing the stipulated organ with a harpsichord and theorbo – it might have been interesting to hear what a difference an organ continuo might have made. However, the forces used here and the wonderfully rich Glossa recorded sound add a textural opulence to this music, which is most enjoyable and impressive. The opus 10 includes three famous ‘programmatic’ concerti, La Notte, Il Gardellino and La Tempesta di Mare, as well as three further concerti, two of which are reworkings of pieces for ‘third flute’ and the third of which was composed specially to make up the numbers. This publication was hugely popular, and if Vivaldi’s public didn’t feel short-changed by being presented with largely non-original material, neither should we at the relative brevity of this CD. The main reason for this is Carlo Ipata’s expressive flute playing, which it has to be said is more effective in the more dynamic movements than in the contemplative sections, where I occasionally felt he could have made more of Vivaldi’s simple lines. Overall, though, these are engaging and technically assured performances, and Ipata’s warm-toned flute is always in perfect balance with the orchestral forces. We hear so many exaggerated and otherwise ‘souped-up’ performances of Vivaldi these days, that something more restrained and tasteful, such as we have here, is a genuine treat.

D. James Ross

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