In tandem with the “Vivaldian ardour” (International Record Review) of conductor-harpsichordist Andrea Marcon and his Venice Baroque Orchestra, violinist Giuliano Carmignola – “a wonderfully accomplished player” (Gramophone) – has raised the bar on recordings of the Venetian Baroque master. This 7-CD set contains many of Vivaldi’s most engaging concertos, enlivened with playing “full of character, energy and sensibility” (BBC Music Magazine) – including “a performance of the Four Seasons as fine as any” (ClassicsToday). It also features Carmignola and Marcon presenting the complete Bach Violin and Harpsichord Sonatas
It is important to note that these concertos were composed by Vivaldi (1678-1741) late in his career. Do not try to associate any type of chronology to the RV numbering of Vivaldi's works, as this numbering represents a simple cataloguing. You might be wondering, what makes a "late" Vivaldi concerto different from any other Vivaldi concerto…
This premiere recording of six Vivaldi concertos is full of surprises. The works are entirely unknown because, unlike his other compositions, they were written not for publication but for substantial private commissions from wealthy patrons. Dating from his most mature years, they exhibit a style very different from his earlier concertos, which often sound almost mass-produced. Though they are still cast in the customary three movements and are full of the usual sequences, they are more unpredictable, dramatic, and daring; adventurous in form, harmony, and texture; with sudden contrasts of mood, character, and expression. The slow movements are meltingly beautiful, but no two concertos are alike, either in detail or overall effect. Some movements hardly seem to hang together; they appear to consist of collages of motives, punctuated by bursts of virtuosity… –Edith Eisler
“Here Claudio Abbado is gambolling among the Brandenburg Concertos in this straightforward TV-style concert film, recorded in the classic 19th-century opera house at Reggio Emilia during an Italian tour in spring 2007. The orchestra is at first glance a curious gathering, mixing 'Baroque' players such as violinist Giuliano Carmignola and harpsichordist Ottavio Dantone with 'modern' names such as trumpeter Reinhold Friedrich and 'un-Baroque' recorder-player Michala Petri. Furthermore, a look round the instruments reveals mostly modern models, some hybrids…” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
These are . . . expressively engaging concertos by composers of the generation following Vivaldi, whose idiom by the way seldom comes to mind. Rather, it is that of Tartini, and never more so than in the cantabile style of the expansive and lyrical slow movements. Who better to disclose the poetic utterances of these pieces with their highly developed "esprit de fantaisie" than Giuliano Carmignola? I cannot think of any other violinist at the moment who feels this music with such depth and delicacy of expression and who can sustain the melodic line in a manner which mirrors the sustained style of an operatic aria . . . To my ears this music is every bit as rewarding as that of some better known contemporaries such as Locatelli. Transitional periods are usually fascinating and this one, bridging the Baroque and Classical is no exception. The Venice Baroque Orchestra under Andrea Marcon's direction offers sympathetic and crisp support, setting the seal on an excellent release.
Record Review / Nicholas Anderson, BBC Music Magazine (London) / 01. January 2010
Following his critically acclaimed recording of all the Mozart concertos, Giuliano Carmignola fulfills his long-held wish to record the unjustly neglected, wonderful Violin Concertos of Joseph Haydn. These concertos showcase Haydn's originality, wit, spirit, and melodic inventiveness. Carmignola's technical precision, disciplined musicality, and gorgeous tone bring every one of the composer's intentions to vivid life. His musical collaborators here, the remarkable Orchestre des Champs-Élysées - known for performing repertoire from Haydn to Mahler on period instruments - makes an ideal partner.
You're moaning to yourself, "Yet another Four Seasons?" But this disc, believe it or not, is actually worth hearing. Violinist Giuliano Carmignola and the Venice Baroque Orchestra use a slightly different scoring of Vivaldi's masterpiece, the 1996 Ricordi critical edition, and somehow unveil world premieres of three Vivaldi concertos. Their period-instrument performance of The Four Seasons is beautifully played and recorded…