The Four Seasons are a Total Joy

This reading of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons is one best available in a crowded marketplace.

Composer: Vivaldi

Repertoire: Violin Concertos, op.8 (including The Four Seasons)

Artist: Avison Ensemble/Pavlo Beznosiuk (vln, dir)
Rating: 4/5

Genre: Orchestral

Label: Linn CKD365

The Music: Although Vivaldi’s vast output spent centuries collecting dust before it was rediscovered, we know The Four Seasons was a European hit in his lifetime, and along with the other eight violin concertos in this set, it reveals the composer’s exceptional skill, writing with both dazzling virtuosity and an appealing humanity. 

The Performance: You can choose how you like your Vivaldi these days – tough and punchy or meticulous, even academic! The Avison Ensemble presents Vivaldi’s music with none of the affectation of some superstar performances in this thoughtful yet intensely musical reading of a work which suffers from its own success! Vivaldi is so clever at revealing the human condition through his music, and the flowing, organic playing of the ensemble with all the right attention to detail highlights the composer’s intentions to explore our emotional reaction to – of all things – the weather! 

The Verdict: This has to be one of the most vibrant, authentic and involving recordings of Vivaldi’s violin concertos I’ve heard. This two-CD set is great value. 

Want More? Try the cello suites of John Garth – a delightful discovery from the Avison ensemble (Divine Art, DDA 25059).