Our CD of the Week features Adrian Chandler and La Serenissima, digging deep into the rich, pastoral world of Vivaldi.
British violinist Adrian Chandler created his ensemble La Serenissima twenty-five years ago, and over that time, Chandler has immersed himself so thoroughly in the music of Vivaldi that he’s become much more than an expert. Soulmate might be a better description.
This recording features a set of three short and delightful cantatas for soprano which together tell a love story, full of Vivaldi’s colorful effects. Only recently has it become possible to perform them – the first was discovered in 1999 in Vienna. The set opens with music that literally trembles, describing the lovesick character Fileno, unable to confess his passion to Elvira (track 5), but finally managing to get it out at the end. In the second cantata the lovers are separated, and in the third they are blissfully reunited, with near-bursting hearts (track 23). Soprano Mhairi Lawson sings with a pure and genuine sense of the narrative, and she navigates Vivaldi's wide-reaching melodic demands with a gorgeous palette of colors. Chandler will boldly say that as these and other cantatas are researched and recovered, the world is finding some of Vivaldi’s most inspired music.
There is purely instrumental music here, too: a unique and wonderful sonata for violin and cello which is the sole survivor of its type, and two violin sonatas from a set of five that has long languished in the city of Graz because of missing parts. Chandler has breathed life into two of them by composing the bass parts himself, creating a lush sound with cello, harpsichord, and guitar (or theorbo). With Chandler playing the solo part, you can imagine Vivaldi himself – his instrument tucked under his chin, eyes sparkling, leading his colleagues through the signature joyous and lamenting gestures that have made him, centuries later, a household name.
For more information and to listen to tracks, visit Linn Records's online store.
To purchase this album, visit ArkivMusic.