Unsurprisingly, when the fourth concerto on this CD, in D (RV217), was given an airing on BBC Radio 3, it was this version was played: firstly, because it is superlative, and secondly, because it is the only recording in existence. The manuscripts are housed in the Turin National Library and should eventually be recorded by Opus 111 as well, because of it. They'll have a hard job indeed matching this one.
Carmignola and the VBO under Andrea Marcon have made something of a speciality of eighteenth century Venetian Baroque music. And while there are lots of imitators around, none surpasses the gorgeously rich and resonant sound that their ensemble creates. If you want proof of this, visit Deutschegrammophon's own site for some very high-quality samples. Curiously, among the four tracks offered gratis by way of samples is the Largo from RV320 - a work that doesn't in fact feature on the CD! (It is a Concerto in G minor that is incomplete, according to the Catalogue of Works in my trusty Michael Talbot book, Vivaldi. It's a shame it couldn't have been included on a CD totalling just over 58'.)
On most counts, this Archiv release matches the previous collections offered by Sony, featuring the same team. 1) The recording quality is, as already noted, superb. 2) Carmignola remains an unsurpassed interpreter of Vivaldi's violin concertos. 3) All five of the concertos on this CD are world-premiere recordings, like all of those on the three Sony CDs - except for The Four Seasons, of course. Strangely, again, Archiv do not mention this fact, until you visit the website dedicated to the launch of this product, or look closely at the back of the CD case! Surely, this is worth trumpeting. 4) The accompanying booklet is highly informative.
The liner notes are over-ambitious in trying to pin down compositional dates for the works - notoriously difficult with Vivaldi. Several parallels between these concerti and others by him are noted but, surprisingly, not the one that jumped out at me: the close thematic correspondence between the final Allegro of RV217 and the final allegro of the Cantata for soprano, two violins and viola, 'Vengo a voi, luce adorate' (RV682) where, in my opinion, the melody is further developed and more immediately captivating. Nonetheless, these concerti give wonderful entertainment. We are very lucky to have Carmignola and the VBO breathing such new and vibrant life into Vivaldi's long-neglected repertoire.