Another energetic and sparkling volume in the great complete concertos project

Boris Begelman: Vivaldi

Boris Begelman: Vivaldi

The Strad Issue: August 2021

Description: Another energetic and sparkling volume in the great complete concertos project

Musicians: Boris Begelman (violin) Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini

Works: Vivaldi: Violin concertos: in C major RV194, D major RV211, E minor RV281, F major RV283, A major RV346, B flat major RV365

Catalogue number: NAÏVE OP 7258

There are 110 Vivaldi violin concertos in the National University Library in Turin and much more besides. This is the latest CD in the great project by the Naïve record label to record the lot (see May’s Session Report). The F major Concerto RV283 gets it off to an explosive start, with fiddles imitating horn calls and mighty rhythmic impetus from the continuo section. Boris Begelman is forward in the mix with energetic scales and arpeggios. After a gentle central Largo the final Allegro is robust and tempestuous, with a terrific double-stopped chordal passage which sounds halfway to being a guitar. The B flat major Concerto RV365 has a mellower tinge, and Begelman brings delicacy as well as strength to its challenging and contracted figurations.

After the gaiety of the C major Concerto RV194 comes the D major RV211, the largest and grandest of the set. It opens in the style of a French overture, and the solo writing is both shamelessly virtuosic and constantly inventive, challenges Begelman tackles with aplomb before topping them off with a suitably extrovert cadenza. The Larghetto rocks gently, and in the final Allegro Begelman is happily robust, dancing and occasionally tender. The A major RV346 has an easy-going good humour, and the last concerto, the E minor RV281, provides a dramatic and turbulent ending to this fine set. Begelman and the Concerto Italiano are superb throughout, and the recorded sound is clear and resonant.