New CD of the Week | Essential Vivaldi

 

Antonio Vivaldi was one of the great Italian composers of the Baroque era. He produced a vast amount of delightful music, much of it highly experimental for its day, in the form of concertos for various instruments, both singly and in combination.  There is perhaps no better cross-section of his work you can find than Essential Vivaldi.  Nicknamed "The Red Priest" owing to his shock of red hair and stint in the priesthood, Vivaldi's musical inventions inspired Johann Sebastian Bach himself. 

His most famous composition is the set of four violin concertos called ‘The Four Seasons’ and all four are heard on this highly affordable two-disc set, Essential Vivaldi.  Each is performed by a different virtuoso violin soloist: Yehudi Menuhin, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Christopher Warrren-Green and Kyung-Wha Chung.  Also featured on this star-studded offering is guitar Christopher Parkening, cellist Ha Na Chang, violinist Fabio Biondi and flutist Emmanuel Pahud, to name a few.  Essential Vivaldi highlights some of the great composer's best loved concertos, several lesser-known works, and beautiful arias from his many operas.  Giving this splendid 2 1/2 collection a rousing finish, are selections from Vivaldi's magnificent setting of the Gloria.  At this price, Essential Vivaldi is a steal!