Vivaldi - The French Connection

Vivaldi’s French side explored with great skill and taste by La Serenissima

Author: 
Lindsay Kemp
VIVALDI The French ConnectionVIVALDI The French Connection

VIVALDI - The French Connection

  • Concerto for Strings
  • Concerto for Bassoon and Strings
  • Concerto for Bassoon and Strings
  • Concerto for Flute and Strings
  • Concerto for Strings
  • Concerto fragment for Bassoon, Strings and Continuo
  • Concerto for Flute and Strings
  • Chamber Concerto
  • Concerto for Strings
  • Concerto for Violin and strings

Intriguing title? Well some, at least, of Vivaldi’s own French connections are known: the French ambassador to Venice was among his patrons, and he supplied 12 concertos without soloist to an unknown Parisian collector. Adrian Chandler has taken three of these last as a starting-point for a full disc of flute, bassoon and violin concertos in which, he reckons, references to the French style are apparent. But is a dotted rhythm here, a chaconne there and a sprinkling of Rameau-ish moments enough to make Vivaldi sound French? Wisely, Chandler does not claim so, though his concession that “Vivaldi’s style is rarely unrecognisable” puts it mildly; Vivaldi seldom sounds like anyone else, even in the grand overture-like first movement of the Violin Concerto RV211, by some margin the most French-drenched piece on this disc. The chaconnes and melodic frou frous found elsewhere may suggest Frenchness to one as sensitive to the composer’s style as Chandler, but to the average listener they will surely sound like Vivaldi from head to toe.

But if this disc works hard to justify its title, what care we when the results make such enjoyable listening? And who can blame Chandler for looking for a way to programme and market Vivaldi that avoids filling it with 10 works all of the same type? Here the three solo instruments come and go in various combinations, always pleasing us and never outstaying their welcome. They are played with skill and taste, lapsing only when the bassoon overpowers the flute in the slow movement of RV438. The orchestral sound, as always with La Serenissima, achieves bright attractiveness and vivacity without feeling the need to pursue the taut energy of some other groups. And that’s just fine.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£64/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2017