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The soloists of the Quebec-based ensemble Les Violons du Roy and their associate conductor, Mathieu Lussier, have selected quintessential works from the 500 concertos composed for various instruments by Antonio Vivaldi. Two concertos from L’Estro Armonico — a huge hit in its day — are featured, as well as other concertos for violins, cello, bassoon, oboe, trumpet, and horn.
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Some of the concertos chosen by associate conductor Mathieu Lussier are very familiar, and listening to the two concertos from the great series L'Estro Armonico, op. 3 you can see why these have been "greatest hit" material since Vivaldi's time. Indeed, I've known and loved these pieces since I first heard them on an Archiv LP in the late 60s. Mixing in more obscure pieces like the Sinfonia from the opera La Verità in Cimento brings in the opera-house excitement and anticipation of a great overture. And there are plenty of opportunities for excellent solos: oboes, bassoon, trumpets, horns and violins all have their chance to shine.
This is Mathieu Lussier's second disc in charge during the convalescence of founding conductor Bernard Labadie following his extended cancer treatment. I know Lussier best as a bassoonist and composer, and he brings soloist and compositional skills to bear in these controlled but exciting, inventive readings with the excellent Quebec musicians. I look forward to more discs from this group under Lussier and Labadie, and trust that the repertoire will be as well-chosen. And, of course, we're all pulling for a complete recovery for Maestro Labadie.