Vivaldi Violin Concertos and String Symphonies Volume 2
5 CD SET
"Shlomo Mintz plays with a pure, full, round, well-projected tone which matches with and sings over the ensemble of the Israel Chamber Orchestra very well indeed. This string band has plenty of bounce, and Mintz brings out sensitivity of phrasing in both the slow central sections and the less overtly expressive outer movements. Rhythm and harmony are both enriched with a well balanced and discreetly played harpsichord to the right of the main body of strings." Dominy Clements, musicweb-International
"I reviewed volume 1 of this series a while ago, and enjoyed it enough to have me eager to pounce when volume 2 appeared on the Nimbus catalogue listings. Together, these 10 discs in two volumes re-release those which appeared on the MusicMasters Classics label in the 1990s. They are not a complete collection of all of Vivaldi’s violin concertos, and you won’t find the op. 3 ‘L’estro armonico’, the Op.4 ‘La Stravaganza’ or the Op.8 ‘Four Seasons’ here, but the surprise for some may be the sheer range of invention and the quality of Vivaldi’s concertos beyond those which are arguably over-exposed.
The first two discs of this set are of the twelve concertos Vivaldi wrote for a pupil at the Pio Ospedale dalla Pietà, Anna Maria. The solo parts are technically demanding, without quite the extremes or variety of special effects which some of the later concertos seem to invite, but expressive middle movements such as the alternating Largo and Presto tempi of RV 248 certainly presage Vivaldi’s later work.
There are plenty of magical moments and movements, and Mintz and his band capture them all in expert style. The whole set is brought to an enchanting end with Il Riposo, which was written for performance on Christmas night. Muted strings and a feast of intertwining lines, ethereal, elusive harmonies and a subtly restrained solo part end this collection with a flavour to savour.
If the ‘safer’ textures of modern strings are the kinds of sound you are looking for then you won’t be disappointed with these discs. They are superbly played and recorded, and will stand up as well to close scrutiny as they will to the accompaniment of a glass of nice port and a good book on a peaceful night." Dominy Clements, Musicweb-international.com
"Shlomo Mintz follows up his first Vivaldi volume by retaining his freshness of approach in the further collection: his silvery timbre seems just right for the music and the Israel Chamber Orchestra continues to provide very persuasive accompaniments. The recording remains truthful and in perfect balance." The Penguin Guide