ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
ANTONIO VIVALDI - THE FOUR SEASONS

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ANTONIO VIVALDI - THE FOUR SEASONS - NILS-ERIK SPARF (Violin) - DROTTNINGHOLM BAROQUE ENSEMBLE - BIS CD275

Probably the most recorded classical piece in history. So why do I recommend the following?

The recording is top notch. The ensemble is not spot lighted with individual microphones. It has a very natural ambiance and balance. The sense of presence is palpable. There is something to test every aspect of the recording chain in this one. Definitely reference material !

The music -- There is something to be said about power and balance in music. Too much of one or the other and you have a recording that is either too over the top, or something that belongs to the confines of elevators. These musicians are very capable! There is great delicacy in the first movement of summer. To create a sense of momentum there is great care in the phrasing of the violin solos to shape the space between the notes. The supporting ensemble has a great balance, delicacy and plain old gusto. In good taste of course.

The continuo group is supported by a pipe organ and a harpsichord. Each used at different times to excellent effect. If you have a system that can plumb the depths you may get a surprise or two from the organ. Truly a recording to measure all others by. My highest recommendations!

Mark Kravchenko