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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - Vivaldi & Bach [2CD]
Artist - Rinaldo Alessandrini & Concerto Italiano

For those unaware, on March 25th, 2022, Naďve Believe will release Rinaldo Alessandrini & Concerto Italiano’s Vivaldi & Bach [2CD].

It is the complete cycle of the Estro Armonico, played by four unrivaled violinists, and all Bach’s transcriptions for keyboard instruments, including the concerto for four harpsichords.

With a highly impressive, wondrously immersive run time of 160 minutes over two discs, if you are willing to devote a little patience to this musical event you will soon discover the Vivaldi of the century!

L’estro armonico, the title of Vivaldi’s first published collection of concertos, is perhaps best translated as Harmonic Fancy or perhaps even Whim, although I have also recently heard it be known as Poetic Fury, but no what it does or doesn’t fluently translate to, this collection of twelve concertos was first published in 1711; but not in Italy, as one might have assumed, but by Estienne Roger in Amsterdam.

With Le quattro stagioni (The Four Seasons) from 1723 being Vivaldi’s most famous work, something I think we can all attest to, it is slightly bemusing to me that there haven’t been more recordings produced in much the same vibrant vein as these over the decades.

For here we have Rinaldo Alessandrini along with the Concerto Italiano bringing forth Vivaldi’s set alongside its six Bachian reworkings, each transcription following immediately after its Venetian parent concerto. Listening to all that come forth, and especially where Vivaldi diversifies the forms, constantly changes the combinations, allowing for room to breathe and pockets of space to stretch a little, is like drinking a fine wine on a luxuriant evening in with good company.

And sure, Bach’s engrained curiosity in stylistic developments beyond his usual scope, combined with his penchant for creatively being able to reach beyond what his comfort norm was, means these compositional works become wholly more ripe, as a musical entity, but nonetheless the outcome for all on display is enhanced to yet another orchestral level by Alessandrini & Concerto Italiano.

On a personal level, I always thoroughly enjoy violin and ensemble highlights when it comes to works such as these and believe me when I say that I was not let down for one moment on this incredible recording.

Inclusive of the four violins’ liltingly Frenchified grace in No 7’s concluding minuet, along with the orchestrations within BWV1065, this being the only Bach transcription employing an orchestra, it is when Alessandrini comes forth as a solo harpsichordist for BWV978, 976 and 972 that the heartfelt richness of the readings are truly brought to life.

The already painted atmospheric landscapes are now brushed with vibrancy and freneticism one minute, languorous and lusciously exorbitant the next, and yet always come with adulation for their core spirit, for Alessandrini’s work magnificently testifies to a freshly cultivated orchestral awareness of these compositional bodies.

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
L’estro armonico Op. 3

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Six Concertos After L’estro armonico By Antonio Vivaldi

Bach, J S: Organ Concerto in A minor (after Vivaldi), BWV593
Bach, J S: Organ Concerto in D minor (after Vivaldi), BWV596
Bach, J S: Keyboard Concerto in D major (after Vivaldi), BWV972
Bach, J S: Keyboard Concerto in C major (after Vivaldi), BWV976
Bach, J S: Keyboard Concerto in F major (after Vivaldi), BWV978
Bach, J S: Concerto for Four Keyboards in A minor (after Vivaldi), BWV1065
Vivaldi: L’estro armonico - 12 concerti, Op. 3

Lorenzo Ghielmi, organ [BWV 593, BWV 596]
Andrea Buccarella, Salvatore Carchiolo, Ignazio Schifani, harpsichords [BWV 1065]

Concerto Italiano:
Stefano Barneschi, Boris Begelman, Elisa Citterio, Andrea Rognoni, violins Ettore Belli, Stefano Marcocchi, violas
Marco Frezzato, cello
Luca Cola, double bass
Ugo di Giovanni, theorbo

Rinaldo Alessandrini, director and solo harpsichord [BWV 972, BWV 976, BWV 978, BWV 1065]

Rinaldo Alessandrini is a virtuoso on Baroque keyboards, including harpsichord, fortepiano, and organ. He is founder and conductor of the Italian early music ensemble Concerto Italiano, performing music of Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Couperin, Bach, and others; and he is considered a foremost interpreter of early Italian opera.

Alessandrini did not start piano until around the age of 14. In parallel he participated in a choral ensemble. At age 18 he discovered the harpsichord, took lessons with Ton Koopman, and subsequently gave his first concert.

The Concerto Italiano was founded in 1984 by the Italian harpsichordist Rinaldo Alessandrini. The group began its activities with a repertoire including madrigals from Luca Marenzio to Claudio Monteverdi, and then added baroque instrumental music until the time of Bach and Vivaldi.

He made his Rome debut with Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto in 1984. In more than thirty-five years of activity, the Concerto Italiano has given many concerts, both in Italy and abroad (Europe, Asia and America).

In collaboration with the National Library of the University of Turin, the Concerto Italiano recorded most of Vivaldi’s operas and concertos known to date, some of which had not been performed for more than 300 years.

Official Rinaldo Alessandrini & Concerto Italiano Facebook Page