The Four Seasons (CD review)

‘Adrian Chandler and his period-instrument ensemble La Serenissima have become well-known through numerous recordings on Avie, and they celebrate their 21st anniversary with this release. There are quite extensive notes in the booklet and Chandler has created a new edition of The Four Seasons based on the only surviving manuscript of these works. While there is plenty of scholarly grounding to this interpretation it is the performance which brings the music to life, something which very much happens here. These concertos are played in period style, but aside from crisply rhythmic style and transparent sonorities there is much in Adrian Chandler’s solo playing alone which will make you want to hear this recording again and again. There is quite a good deal of folk-like style in the performance with little added ornaments, a free and rhapsodic narrative touch where possible, and a general spirit of well-prepared lawlessness that is quite refreshing. Ensemble and soloist find the beauty in the music but one has the impression that this is not their prime objective – nor is it the taking of the performance to pictorial extremes. Yes, the canvas is richly laden with seasonal atmosphere, sparkling weather and the usual animals and characters, but the essence of these performances is that they are massively entertaining on every level. The virtuoso wonders of the soloist are equalled and imitated by the ensemble, and the two sometimes seem locked in a life and death struggle, as in the final Presto of Summer. The sheer joy of musicianship on display here draws us in and keeps us fully engrossed.’

Musicweb International, November 2015:


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