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Vivaldi For All Seasons

02 MAR 09 VIVIEN SCHWEITZER

It's hard to imagine that for almost a century Vivaldi's now ubiquitous "Four Seasons" disappeared from the repertory (as did much of his music). After World War II the work regained the popularity accorded it during the composer's lifetime. It can be hard for musicians to keep such an oft recorded and performed work fresh, but Martin Pearlman and the Boston Baroque certainly succeed on their new Telarc recording Vivaldi: The Four Seasons & Geminiani Concerto Grosso Nos. 4 and 12.

The "Four Seasons" is an ideal showcase for baroque violinists, in this case the talented Canadian Christina Day Martinson. Her accreditation includes a Master of Music degree in historical performance from Boston University where she studied with Pearlman. Her eloquent and expressive playing and stylish use of ornamentation complements the lithe, buoyant interpretations of the period instrument Boston Baroque.

Francisco Geminiani was (like Vivaldi) a violin virtuoso, although his music never achieved the popularity in the 20th century as that of his countryman. This disc includes sparkling performances of two concerti taken from a set of twelve inspired by the Op. 5 violin sonatas of Corelli, Geminiani's teacher.

The recording concludes with a stellar performance of Geminiani's "Variations on La Follia" -- a popular dance tune that also inspired variations from composers including Liszt and Rachmaninoff. The Boston Baroque perform the somber, stately sections with dignified grace and the more virtuosic interludes with panache.

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