Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Sir Neville Marriner – Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (2000/2006) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Antonio Vivaldi – The Four Seasons – Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Sir Neville Marriner (2000/2006)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:13:58 minutes | 1,37 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Decca
Recorded: (#1-12) September 1969, (#13-21) July 1975, St. John’s Smith Square, London, UK

One of the finest Four Seasons ever put on disc, which in stylish freshness (Alan Loveday in superb form) puts many of the period-instrument versions in the shade. ‘I have never enjoyed Vivaldi so much,’ said the original Gramophone review, and I can go along with that. This reappeared not long ago as one of the ‘Penguin Classics’, but is now made the more enticing by the inclusion of three more hand-picked Vivaldi concertos which are hardly less winning or more appealingly played.

There was a time when every other recording played on any self-respecting classical radio station was made by Neville Marriner conducting the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. There were two reasons for this: one, Marriner and the Academy made some of the best, the brightest, and the most beautiful recordings ever made, and two, classical disc jockeys just loved saying “That was Neville Marriner conducting the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.” Of all their hundreds of recordings, this 1969 recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was perhaps the most played of all. It had everything anyone could want from a Four Seasons. It has thoroughly prepared and brilliantly executed performances by the Academy, entirely elegant and astoundingly virtuosic performances by violin soloist Alan Loveday, wonderfully stylish and irresistibly rhythmic continuo playing by harpsichordist and organist Simon Preston, and marvelously imaginative and highly poetic conducting from Marriner. Although this recording of the Four Seasons was followed by literally hundreds of other recordings featuring everything from thoroughly historically informed performances on period instruments to completely unhistorical performances on a quartet of guitars, hearing it again after 40 years re-affirms the preeminence of Marriner and the Academy’s recording. Coupled here with their slightly later recordings of Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concerto, Piccolo Concerto and Concerto for 2 Oboes, this disc belongs on any short shelf of classical recordings, especially in Decca’s bright, clean, and warm stereo sound. ~~AllMusic Review by James Leonard


Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

Concerto for Violin and Strings in E, Op.8, No.1, R.269 “La Primavera”
1 1. Allegro 00:03:12
2 2. Largo 00:03:30
3 3. Allegro (Danza pastorale) 00:04:37

Concerto for Violin and Strings in G minor, Op.8, No.2, R.315 “L’estate”
4 1. Allegro non molto – Allegro 00:05:50
5 2. Adagio – Presto – Adagio 00:02:36
6 3. Presto (Tempo impetuoso d’estate) 00:02:49

Concerto for Violin and Strings in F, Op.8, No.3, R.293 “L’autunno”
7 1. Allegro (Ballo, e canto de’ villanelli) 00:05:00
8 2. Adagio molto (Ubriachi dormienti) 00:02:55
9 3. Allegro (La caccia) 00:03:26

Concerto for Violin and Strings in F minor, Op.8, No.4, R.297 “L’inverno”
10 1. Allegro non molto 00:03:18
11 2. Largo 00:02:19
12 3. Allegro 00:02:57

Concerto for 2 Oboes, Strings and Continuo in D minor, R.535
13 1. Largo – Allegro 00:03:39
14 2. Largo 00:02:31
15 3. Allegro molto 00:02:49

Bassoon Concerto in A minor, R.498
16 1. Allegro (ma molto moderato) 00:04:37
17 2. Larghetto 00:03:52
18 3. Allegro 00:03:08

Flautino Concerto in C, R.443
19 1. Allegro 00:03:53
20 2. Largo 00:03:48
21 3. Allegro molto 00:03:12

Alan Loveday, Violin (#1-12)
Celia Nicklin, Oboe (#13-15)
Neil Black, Oboe (#13-15)
Christopher Hogwood, Harpsichord (#13-18)
Colin Tilney, Organ (#13-18)
Kenneth Heath, Cello Continuo (#13-18)
Martin Gatt, Bassoon (#16-18)
William Bennett, Piccolo (#19-21)
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Neville Marriner, Conductor