This album contains the second group of six concertos published in 1729 in Amsterdam by Le Cane, the series making, with Opus 11, published in the same year, the now usual set of twelve...
This premiere recording of six Vivaldi concertos is full of surprises. The works are entirely unknown because, unlike his other compositions, they were written not for publication but for substantial private commissions from wealthy patrons. Dating from his most mature years, they exhibit a style very different from his earlier concertos, which often sound almost mass-produced. Though they are still cast in the customary three movements and are full of the usual sequences, they are more unpredictable, dramatic, and daring; adventurous in form, harmony, and texture; with sudden contrasts of mood, character, and expression. The slow movements are meltingly beautiful, but no two concertos are alike, either in detail or overall effect. Some movements hardly seem to hang together; they appear to consist of collages of motives, punctuated by bursts of virtuosity… –Edith Eisler
I Solisti Veneti is one of the first rank of small Italian chamber orchestras with modern instruments. Founded in Padua in 1959 by Claudio Scimone, it has made a reputation especially with Italian Baroque music, recording many works by Antonio Vivaldi, Tomaso Albinoni, Francesco Geminiani, Benedetto Marcello and Giuseppe Tartini. Giuliano Carmignola and Piero Toso were two of the soloists in the ensemble. The group has made over 300 recordings, many on the Erato record label. A number of these were first-ever recordings of works of Vivaldi, Albinoni and Rossini.
In his autobiography of 1718 Telemann had this admission to make about his work during the period 1708-1712, when he was Konzertmeister and Hofkapellmeister at Eisenach: "Variety always gives pleasure, and it is in this spirit that I have worked on my concertos. Of these I must confess that none came right from the heart, although I have produced a fair number of them …" During these years he must have become acquainted with the new type of concerto introduced by Antonio Vivaldi which, with its alternation of ritornelli and soli, captivated the German composers.
Telemann must have been excited and stimulated by it but, unlike his younger colleagues, he remained all his life true to the influence of Corelli, Torelli, and Albinoni.
Vivaldi is greatly over-rated - a dull fellow who would compose the same form over many times. Such is the opinion of one of the great composers on the music of another great composer. Given the evidence of the present newly re-released complete Vivaldi cello concertos incredulity can be the only response to this assessment. But then Stravinsky was a man who voiced strong, often acerbic and sometimes outrageous opinions on virtually anything suggested to him. He had probably heard few, if any, of these cello concertos and irrespective would it have made any difference?
…Mullova and Carmignola provide one of the most consummate displays of period instrument playing that I have heard. True masters of their instruments.