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Title - 'Vivaldi x2'
Artist - Adrian Chandler & La Serenissima

For those not in the classical know, British-born Adrian Chandler is recognized internationally as a leading interpreter of Italian baroque music.

Whilst a student at the Royal College of Music, Adrian founded La Serenissima with whom he has performed as Director/Soloist at major festivals and has recorded extensively for the Avie label (winning a Gramophone Award in 2010).

He has been Guest Director and Soloist with many ensembles and will make his debut with Concerto Copenhagen in 2019.

Indeed, Adrian’s performances have been broadcast extensively worldwide; his disc of virtuoso violin sonatas Per Monsieur Pisendel 2 released in 2014 attracted rave reviews and featured on the soundtrack of hit American TV series The Originals.

His interpretation of The Four Seasons was released in 2015 to outstanding critical reception and his unique combination of research, editing and performing work has been recognized by twice winning the Gramophone Award for Baroque Instrumental for recording projects The French Connection (2010) and The Italian Job (2017).

Adrian’s most recent recording with La Serenissima is a disc of double concertos entitled Vivaldi x2. Released July 20th, 2018 via AVIE Records, it has already gone straight to #1 in the Classical Charts and attracted great critical acclaim throughout the world over.

As for the wonderful La Serenissima, they are the UK’s most dynamic voice of Italian baroque music. Born in 1994 out of one man's passion for Vivaldi, they bring well-known and neglected music to life through painstaking research, virtuosic performances and down-to-earth dialogue their audiences.

Indeed, their concerts at home and abroad are recognized for their flair, quality and the way they engage. Uniquely, they work only from their own performing editions and they produce critically-acclaimed recordings which make their music available to all.

On the truly wondrous Vivaldi x2, directed by Adrian Chandler (who also appears here on violin), La Serenissima performs seven foot-tapping double concertos by Vivaldi.

Featuring horns, oboes, bassoon, violin, and cello, virtuosic thrills abound in some of Vivaldi’s most colorful and exuberant works.

1. Concerto for 2 Horns in F major, RV 539
2. Concerto for 2 Oboes in D minor, RV 535
3. Concerto for Violin and Cello in A major, RV 546
4. Concerto for Oboe and Bassoon in G major, RV 545
5. Concerto for 2 Horns in F major, RV 538
6. Concerto for Violin and Cello in B flat major, RV 547
7. Concerto for 2 Oboes in A minor, RV 536
8. Concerto for Violin and Cello in B flat major, RV 547

On Vivaldi x2, Chandler focuses on double concertos, which Vivaldi produced in profusion for his players as the Osepale della Pietà, but which have been largely neglected on en masse of various other recordings.

Chandler digs up unusual and interesting pieces; there isn't an overplayed item in the bunch. And the big news is his overall style: 180 degrees removed from muscular Italian Vivaldi approaches derived from operatic styles.

For Chandler, the Vivaldi concerto is a playful, subtle affair, with soloists neither blending into the ensemble, as in some small-group readings, nor standing up to it in big contrasts.

Instead, Chandler's soloists react flexibly to the orchestral tutti, catching the variety in Vivaldi's solo treatments. The work on Chandler's period horn and wind players is notable; hornists Anneke Scott and Jocelyn Lightfoot tame the temperamental natural horn and produce gentle sounds that fit perfectly with Chandler's approach.

Aside from alluring orchestrations caught now within both Concerto in D minor, RV 535 and the Concerto in B flat major, RV, also included is a notorious puzzle: the Concerto S.A.S.I.S.P.G.M.D.G.S.M.B. in F major for two horns, two oboes, bassoon, violin, cello, strings, and continuo, RV 574.

This work has been the subject of speculation because of its title (it may stand for Per Sua Altezza Serenissima il Signor Principe Giuseppe. Maria de' Gonzaga Signor Mio Benignissimo; but then again, I did say may), but its real interest lies in the truly virtuosic mixing of the solo parts, and in this performance overall. One of the most incredible and entrancing finales to a classical collection of Vivaldi's works that, quite possibly, there has ever been!

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