Familiar Composers in a New Light

* * * * VIVALDI: Late Violin Concertos Giuliano Carmignola, violin; Venice Baroque Orchestra, Andrea Marcon, conductor Son

These six, never-before recorded concertos (according to Sony) date from Vivaldi's last years, when the composer abandoned widespread publication in favor of limited distribution to patrons. It paid off handsomely in the short term but was a disaster as far as making these works well-known. A pity because Vivaldi's imagination had never been higher. Each movement reveals extraordinary invention, new degrees and kinds of interplay between soloist and ensemble (forget mere imitation and repetition), and an ingenious play of rhythm, light and shade. The slow movements are particularly songful. The composer anticipates musical styles to come.

Giuliano Carmignola is a sweet-sounding soloist, playing with a singing and dancing line, a host of bowing effects and attacks, and breathtaking virtuosity. Andrea Marcon leads a vividly responsive ensemble.

There are more crescendos, long lines and detailed continuo work than is usual in period-instrument recordings. The whole allows a new appreciation of a master who apparently never stopped growing.

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