Vivaldi: Recorder Concertos

Dan Laurin, 1B1, Jan Bøjranger
RV92, 108, 441–5

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]an Laurin made two previous recordings of Vivaldi recorder concertos in the 1990s but now rejects these, as well as most other recordings of them, as being insufficiently operatic. Following his recording of The Four Seasons (BIS-SACD-1605) he identified similar dramatic writing in RV441 and in RV 443-5 (the concertos for flautino) and his aim on the present recording is to bring out this operatic quality with the freedom and spontaneity often found in modern recordings of the “Seasons” with solo violin. In this he is greatly aided by the Norwegian ensemble 1B1 (short for Ensemble Bjergsted 1) who play with tremendous verve and precision, driven along by the vigorous continuo playing of Anna Paradiso (harpsichord) and Jonas Nordberg (theorbo and baroque guitar). Dan Laurin has chosen to play two of the flautino concertos (RV443 and 445) down a fourth on the soprano recorder, on the grounds that they are marked ‘alla quarta bassa’ in the original scores, and for the first of these he plays a specially made copy of a descant recorder by Domenico Peroso, one of the few surviving examples of recorders by Venetian makers.

There are many recordings of Vivaldi’s recorder concertos but this is certainly one that stands out, not just for Dan Laurin’s exciting and seemingly effortless recorder playing and his wonderfully imaginative ornamentation of the slow movements, but also for the magnificent ensemble playing of the whole team. Laurin’s interesting and informative booklet notes are the icing on the cake.

Victoria Helby

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