VIVALDI The Four Seasons, Violin Concertos RV 375, RV 277 Il favorito, RV 271 L`amoroso. Elizabeth Blumenstock, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra / Nicholas McGegan. Philharmonia Baroque

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Vivaldi The Four Seasons Elizabeth Blumenstock Nicholas Mcgegan Philharmonia Baroque

ANTONIO VIVALDI

Le quattro stagioni, Op. 8, Nos. 1-4

Violin Concertos in B-flat major, RV 375,

Concerto in E minor RV 277, Il favorito,

Concerto in E major RV 271, L’amoroso

Elizabeth Blumenstock (violin);

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra / Nicholas McGegan

Recorded December 9-11, 2010 at Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, CA

Our familiarity with Vivaldi’s music makes it a particular challenge to any soloist not only to measure up to the virtuosity of past performers, but also to bring to the performance something new. In the case of Elizabeth Blumenstock and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, that “something new” is actually something very old and precious in its authenticity and faithfulness—a performance that would, without doubt, have pleased the Red Priest mightily.

RV271, L’amoroso and RV277, Il favorito were part of a set of six concertos Vivaldi gave to Emperor Charles VI, who rewarded him with lots of money, a knighthood, a gold medal and an invitation to come visit him in Vienna. And yet one cannot help feeling that these pieces weren’t actually written for the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. The innocent tenderness and joy of L’amoroso and Il favorito, their distinctly feminine lyric sadness and longing, would point to the pieces first having been written for the girls and women of the Pietà.

The rarely recorded concerto in B-flat major (RV375) is from Vivaldi’s late period. Complex and nuanced, the piece is filled with emotions that seem to belong more exclusively to the composer. While RV375 is recognisably the work of the same exuberant man who composed “The Four Seasons,” there is a morbid sense of foreboding in the music, especially in the first movement, and a tone of defiance throughout.

Baroque violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock is widely admired as a performer of compelling verve and eloquence. She has played with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra since 1981 as a regular soloist, concertmaster, and leader. She is also a regular concertmaster with American Bach Soloists, the Göttingen Händelfestspiel Orchestra and the Italian ensemble Il Complesso Barocco. She plays a 1660 Andrea Guarneri violin on loan from the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Period Instrument Trust.

Philharmonia Baroque PBP03

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