This disc delivers more than it promises. The fashionable packaging (with a rather fallacious comparison between Vivaldi’s music and ‘swing’ in the booklet notes) prepared me for something over-marketed and mediocre, but in truth these are excellent performances of great aplomb. Vivaldi’s little known and previously unrecorded works here are an enticing mixture of vibrant rhythms and soulful melodies. I’ve always held that Vivaldi’s music is more than the sum of its parts, but these concertos are all truly exciting ‘rediscoveries’ and deserve wider hearing.
Duilio M. Galfetti, leader of I Barocchisti and here appearing as soloist, has a long-standing reputation as a Baroque specialist, starting with his links to Il Giardino Armonico of Milan. Here, I was impressed not only by the joie de vivre of the band, but also by Galfetti’s readiness to experiment with some controversial techniques, including portamento (as in the finale of RV307) and bow vibrato (in RV 352). The use of sharply articulated bow strokes in fast movements (as in the finale of RV210) has become more familiar to us in Baroque music, although there is little evidence that it was ever played this way at the time. Nonetheless, there is a vast array of colours and textures on display on this well-produced disc.