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Estro Armonico Op. 3

Arte Dell'arco; Guglielmo , Vivaldi Antonio Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 34.74 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Amazon.com: 1.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not satisfying. March 30 2011
By Alexander Mendez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I agree with the other reviewer that the recording is extremely weak. However, the Italian ensemble is actually a rather strong one. If you listen to the other recordings of L'Arte dell'Arco, it is quite clear that the ensemble itself is quite good and that Federico Guglielmo is an excellent violinist. In fact, both the ensemble and Christopher Hogwood have impeccable reputations, but somehow this recording did not work out. One of the reasons for its weakness is the performance choice. It was decided to have only instrumentalist play each part. Therefore, you have these grand concerti played almost as chamber pieces. This is an interesting choice, but the result is not very effective and, to those who have heard these works before, the result is unnerving. The choice seemed to affect the players themselves. There is very little of the creative playing characteristic of Italian violinists although on other recordings these same violinists play quite wonderfully. The continuo is feeble and in some movements there is a rather frenetic baroque guitar trying to fill in the gaps in the sound (baroque guitar can be used quite effectively as a continuo instrument, but it is not in this recording). The tempi are incredibly rushed. The overall sound is tinny and weak. In short, there is no reason to buy this unless you are really curious to hear what one part per player sounds like.
2.0 out of 5 stars The stars were not aligned July 26 2014
By Biberfan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
When this came out, I ate it up, the chance to hear a "new" rendition of op. 3 with Hogwood and an Italian ensemble I already knew from their recordings on another label. Their Tartini discs were not 5-star renditions in my opinion, but likely 4-star readings (when, admittedly, no one else was recording them). I don't disagree with the two other current reviews on this release, however, as something didn't quite work in this recording.

Which I think has less to do with individual pieces (one performer or the recording engineer) and a summation of all of the elements that go into a good recording. Obviously, the vision between the leader and the group has to be shared and of one mind. Who is to say, but did that contribute to the performance? I will admit, some of the playing from the strings sounds weak in spots. But the biggest drawback is the recorded sound.

The instruments sound scratchy at times and thin; but baroque instruments do sound that way at times. But the imperfections are sometimes lost in the bloom of a nice performance space. This space and the way it was captured sounds way too small and close. It reminds me of what they might sound like playing in a 3-car garage. Lots of hard surfaces, almost no reverb, and everything is very transparent. It didn't help these guys that it was recorded this way... a church, for instance, might have been much more forgiving. The notes say it was recorded in a "Sala della music" but... if it's been engineered for musical performances we can, I guess, blame the recording engineers.

It's too bad... but beyond Pinnock's reading, I like Fabio Biondi's with Europa Galante and Dantone's reading with Accademia Bizantina.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not in the race Feb. 3 2011
By J. TIMMERMAN - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I bought this on the strength of a glowing Gramophone Mag review but I am highly disappointed. I'm learning not to trust the Gramophone. For all their keen intellectual discussion of music performance, I think sometimes they are way off the mark on their performance rating, and I doubt that, despite their musical qualifications, very few of the reviewers are audiophiles that can assess recording quality objectively.

On this recording Hogwood has at his hands a mediocre provincial Italian ensemble with a scratchy tonal quality and less than ideal intonation, struggling on difficult passages. The playing is relatively bland, matched by a dead acoustic. Hogwood's 90's recording with the Academy of Ancient Music is more polished while the recording quality is warmer and more expansive. As well, it comes with the complete set of Op.10 flute concertos.

If you're after a fine recent Italian recording of the Op.3, Fabio Biondi's Europa Galante offers far more insights and interest, with more polished performance and a warmer more open sound (yet Gramophone gives it a lower rating). Although Biondi's Vivaldi Op.8 is very ordinary, being too quirky (the Gramophone loved it) his earlier Op.3 is excellent. Then there's also Pinnock's fine English Concert recording.

L'Arte dell'Arco's recording is certainly not horrible, it's just underwhelming, paling in comparison to others.

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