The Avison Ensemble - Vivaldi: Concerti Opus 8 - American Record Guide


I'm glad the Avison Ensemble didn't stop at yet another recording of just the Four Seasons, choosing instead to give us the whole of Opus 8, which is really very fine. The notes here contain, at least implicitly, some good advice: we should occasionally sit down and really listen to the Four Seasons-difficult to do, bombarded as we are by the constant media use of at least fragments of these concertos. Nonetheless, it might be rewarding, especially if you listen in the context of the other eight concertos. To give you some idea of how seldom the entire 12 concertos are recorded, one online store has eight sets of all 12 but well over 200 recordings of Four Seasons.

I would be comfortable with this set as my only recording; it is an extremely solid reading of all the concertos. I have written at length before about my own categories of Four Seasons recordings (J/A 2011). There is nothing weird or far out about this performance. It's musical, energetic, and charming, evocative of the seasons without leaning toward the bizarre. The same is true for the other concertos. Don't hesitate to buy it if you need one or if you're dissatisfied with what you have.

The notes are good, the sound excellent.
01 March 2012