A Softly-Softly Approach to Vivaldi

Celebrated cellist Sol Gabetta offers a softer and more nuanced approach than is the norm on these classics.

Composer: Vivaldi

Repertoire: Cello Concertos

Artist: Sol Gabetta (vlc), Cappella Gabetta/Andrés Gabetta
Rating: 3/5

Genre: Orchestral

Label: Sony Classical 88697932302

The Music: Drawn from the music library of the 18th-century political statesman and amateur cellist, Count von Schönborn, these graceful, often virtuoso, concertos are Italian Baroque in style. Four Vivaldi concertos are followed by a concerto each by two of his lesser-known contemporaries, Leonardo Leo and Giovanni Benedetto Platti. The Platti is a world premiere recording. 

The Performance: Performed on a Baroque cello, Gabetta’s interpretation sounds substantially different to much of the Vivaldi being recorded at the moment, majoring in the music’s softer, more lyrical qualities rather than in its sharper-edged, fiery brilliance. She’s also not afraid to take the pace a tad slower in order to dwell on the lines and inject some romantic languor. Every now and then, the ear hankers for a bit more zest from both soloist and ensemble. Still, her lines are beautiful, and within the golden softness of her tone the virtuoso lines are still deftly delivered. 

The Verdict: Gabetta’s warm interpretations are as strong on period integrity as any of the more sparklingly vigorous offerings around. They’ll suit those who prefer their Vivaldi more softly edged than the recent norm. 

Want More? For Vivaldi with more vigour, try Vivaldi & Friends, performed by the Apollo’s Fire Baroque orchestra under Jeanette Sorrell (Avie, AV 2211).