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Reviews: Vivaldi: Concertos for the Emperor - English Concert/Manze

Reviews: 1

Review by Christine Tham January 30, 2005 (8 of 12 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is a selection of six concertos from a collection of twelve presented by Vivaldi in manuscript form to Charles VI in September 1728. Well, not quite, for the actual manuscript presented to the Emperor is missing the solo violin part, and the versions we hear on this disc are "reconstructions" based on alternative sources.

There is also some confusion between these concertos (or should I say concerti), collectively referred to as La cetra (The Lyre), and a previous set of published concertos, Op. 9 (also referred to as La cetra and dedicated to the same Charles VI). In any case, both versions of La cetra are completely different apart from one concerto (RV 580).

If you love Vivaldi concertos, you will be in for a treat here, but don't be surprised if they sound a bit more "raw" than "The Four Seasons" for example.

Andrew Manze and the English Concert performs these pieces in a languid and gentle style, and perhaps a bit too languid for me, for I far prefer the more energetic leadership of say, Trevor Pinnock, in his recording of L'Amoroso.

The plastic cover has a sticker that proudly proclaims "Recorded, edited & mastered in DSD." The string tone is ravishingly beautiful, as one would expect, and overall this is an excellent recording that captures the chamber sound quite well. The recording was made in early 2004 at Air Studios, Lyndhurst Hall, London, and the venue sounded rather quiet and not too reverberant.

The multi-channel version features the music primarily spread across the front three speakers, with hall ambience going into the rear speakers. Those who do not like musicians to appear from behind them will have no problems with this recording, which is mixed very conservatively and inoffensively.

The stereo DSD version in contrast has a more collapsed soundstage in comparison to the multi-channel, but quite listenable nevertheless.

The string tone changes subtly on the CD layer, and there is some evidence of PCM "glaze" although not objectionably so compared to early 80s digital recordings.

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