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Il Cimento Dell Armonia E Dell

Antonio Vivaldi Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 74.47
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Product Details

Disc: 1
1. I. Allegro
2. II. Largo
3. III. Allegro
4. I. Allegro non molto
5. II. Adagio
6. III. Presto
7. I. Allegro
8. II. Adagio molto
9. III. Allegro
10. I. Allegro non molto
See all 18 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. I. Allegro
2. II. Largo
3. III. Allegro
4. I. Allegro
5. II. Adagio
6. III. Allegro
7. I. Allegro
8. II. Largo
9. III. Allegro
10. I. Allegro
See all 18 tracks on this disc

Product Description


Another Four Seasons, but this one shoots to the top of the list. Fabio Biondi's imaginative playing is full of spunk and vigor, delineating Vivaldi's scene-painting without overdoing it. His band matches him with rhythmic vitality; this is one Vivaldi set that holds your interest from start to finish.

In his program notes, Biondi explains the use of the "Manchester" manuscript of the Four Seasons, which was closer to the composer's intentions than editions published later, and he discusses the manuscript sources for the other works. The Four Seasons are the first four concertos of Vivaldi's Opus 8 set of a dozen, titled Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione (The Trial of Harmony and Invention). The others may not share the Seasons' popularity, but they're of comparable excellence, especially in performances as exciting as these. First-rate sound, close-up and immediate, underscores the vibrancy of the performances. Biondi's 1991 Four Seasons on Opus 111 is still in the catalog, but this one scores because Virgin includes the complete Opus 8 on two discs for the price of one. --Dan Davis

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb May 31 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I learned of this recording as the result of reading another review; the subject was the Mutter/Trondheim collaboration, and a reviewer wrote that this recording was unique--an intriguing claim for a such a ubiquitous piece. I admit, I was intrigued, although--being the proud owner of both Tafelmusik's and the Venice Baroque Orchestra's recordings--I really wasn't in the market for yet another Four Seasons.
I'm very glad that I played my hunch, because I happened upon this set today (all right, I admit I was looking for it, especially after having been dissuaded by no fewer than three store employees from buying the Mutter, even though it was cheap). I bought it and, quite frankly, it blew me away.
Not only does this performance of the Four Seasons sounds at times almost surreal; it really IS unique. The instruments sound fabulous and voicings were brought out of which I was previously unaware. This disk serves as my introduction to Opus 8 in its entirety, and, and I'm happy (and not a little surprised) to write that the other concerti are just as engaging as the four with which we're so familiar. My only quibble is a technical one: there's a very nocticable shift in sound quality between the last movement of "Winter" (extremely bright throughout the entire Four Seasons, almost brassy but it works) and the first of "La tempesta di mare" (much less so) Since I don't have a CD changer, I'm not able to tell if the same shift occurs between Winter and the second disk, nor am I motivated enough to research it. It is, however, a little jarring.
Really excellent liner notes that are both scholarly and readable (not unlike those included with Lamon's recordings). My only quibble here is that I wish recording specs had been included (yes, girls can be nerds, too).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Those who wish to hear (again ?) a good version of the 4 seasons cannot go wrong with this recording.
Those who like the rest of the concertos or have never heard them cannot go wrong either.
Those who have heard Biondi's Estro Armonico and enjoyed it immensely will find more of the same here.
The concertos I like most, nos. 7, 8, 9, 11, have never sounded any better. *Especially* the latter. You must purchase this recording, even more so if you know these works by heart (prepare to be surprised). Very good recorded sound: never-heard viola or second violin parts "surface" here. Rich, rewarding continuo. Two CDs for the price of one thanks to Virgin Classics.
Next stop, La Stravaganza perhaps, yes ? We wants it, my precious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally different from others Sept. 9 2001
Format:Audio CD
When I first listened to '95 version of Four Seasons by Biondi & Europa Galante, I thought the interpretation was nothing like I had heard before and immensely satisfying.
When I saw the new version of the same repertiore by the same performer in the store, I hesitated: "wouldn't this be the same thing?"
Was I wrong! There is new life in every place in this recording, and made me almost think, "Can they do this? Is this legal?"
I'm sure there will be those who would disagree with the interpretation in this recording, but since the purchase I've been listening to this one only when it comes to Four Seasons.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Four Seasons Ever Nov. 22 2002
Format:Audio CD
I was really suspicious of another Four Seasons, even if the collection included the complete Opus 8. I had read that Europa Galante had recorded a new version of the Four Seasons and the rest of the concerti of opus 8 based on manuscript sources from Manchester, Dresden and Turin. I was very curious if the music would seem different to the average listener. For a long time, though, I ignored the disc until my local Borders put it up on the listening station.
In the end the differences between the mansucript sources and the are not very obvious. The average listener will just hear basically the same melodies...but as soon as I heard the playing I knew I had to get this recording. The playing is just really fantastic. Firstly, Bioni adds very tasteful decorations to the music that really offer a refreshing new listen without sounding gimmicky. A nice short cadenza is added to the 3rd movement of the summer concert, which really gives a great effect of pause before the final rush of sound. The violin he uses is an 18th century original from a private collection and has a perfect balance of dry "period" sound and sweet richness and fullness of sound accentuated by a marvellous "woody" sound.
I would strongly recommend this recording to everyone even if you already have ten or so copies of the Seasons sitting on your shelf. The disc is pretty much available everywhere and has a great two discs-for-the-price-of-one price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent bargain Aug. 23 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
With so many recordings of the "Four Seasons" already available, do we need another one from Fabio Biondi and his Europa Galante, especially when they recorded these same concertos (using the same Manchester edition) a decade ago? Well, not really, but for everyone looking for a great Vivaldi bargain, this is it. Here you can have not only a vibrant and refreshing performance of the "Four Seasons," but excellent interpretations of the other eight concertos of "Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'invenzione," all in two CDs that cost less than the only one of Biondi's previous version for Opus 111. Biondi here is even more expressive than in his earlier recording, with some extreme variations in tempos, some prolonged pauses, more dynamic contrasts. It's the kind of touch that has become the rule recently (Kremer, Carmignola) and can make a performance interesting in the beginning, but not invite repeated listening. Here, though, Biondi performs with a warmth that wasn't entirely present in the Opus 111 CD, with a bigger orchestral body (nine violins, including him, compared to six previously), and the result is satisfying for much more than the novelties. I've heard only partially the new Carmignola/Venice Baroque Orchestra version, which I suppose battles with this new one for the dollars of the buyers. I thought the Carmignola version was a little more excentric than I would like. Many people seem to love it. Anyway, I doubt any of its fans would dislike this new recording, and Biondi comes with much more music for the same price. Right now, it's the "Four Seasons" to go for.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive version
Biondi's disc is without any doubt the definitive version of the FOUR SEASONS. This scintillating, buoyant, energetic performance leaves other versions lying in the dust. Read more
Published on June 30 2004 by Michael
4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely done. Slightly overdone.
The works, the ubiquitous 4 seasons (part of the larger Op.8 included here in its entirety), are truly marvels in the Baroque concerto literature. Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2003 by W. Crone
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best classical album ever...
It is no secret that classical music is beautiful, and that A. Vivaldi's Four Seasons are some of the most beautiful of the beautiful. This compilation, by Europa Gallante (cond. Read more
Published on March 26 2002 by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Playing!
We've all heard the Four Seasons a zillion times by numerous players. Well, buckle up: you've never heard anything like this! Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2002 by Andrew M. Klein
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Genius - Four Seasons, unlike any other
As many times as I have heard Vivaldi's Four Seasons, I have never heard such passion and drama clearly conveyed in the music. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Agree for the most part
with the previous reviewer. The version of the 4 Seasons is quite good, but the other concertos are really exceptional making this a very rewarding disc for a bargain price. Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2001 by Dennis J. Marconi
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