VIVALDI Flute Concertos – Kossenko
Most Vivaldi flute concerto discs home in on the six works he chose to publish as his Op 10 but French flautist Alexis Kossenko and Polish orchestra Arte dei Suonatori here mix three Op 10 works (Nos 4 and 5, plus the slow movement from No 3) with six concertos and a fragment which survived in manuscript only. Thus we lose the entertaining pictorialism of the popular La tempesta di mare and La notte concertos for works with only numbers and keys to identify them, but please do not think that this signals loss of personality or variety. Indeed, as a demonstration of the subtle and resourceful range of Vivaldi’s imagination as applied within the limitations of a set format, this is an ideal selection. Some of the concertos (eg RV438 and 429) are brilliant and bubbly, others lightly lyrical (RV432 and 435), while some (such as RV434 with its muted string colours) inhabit the rapt and luminous sound world that is Vivaldi’s alone. There are novelties, too: the snaky duet between the flute and an accompanying line on cello and bassoon is surely unique.
That this comes across so affectingly on this disc is due in no small part to the performers, who recognise each work’s individual character and then realise it with faultless taste and skill. Though not of the exaggerated species of interpretation which seems to want to make the composer out as a demonic dealer of aural shocks, in their astute, flexible and attractive musicianship they miss few tricks, allowing Vivaldi to emerge as a more sensitive artist than many might have thought. Yes, Kossenko’s playing has virtuosity; but more impressive is the amiable but intensely musical atmosphere that he and Arte dei Suonatori have created together. Definitely an enhancement to the Vivaldi discography.