INKPOT CLASSICAL MUSIC FEATURE: VIVALDI The Four Seasons – Survey of Recordings


Antonio VIVALDI (1658-1741)
Concertos Nos. 1~4 from
Il Cimento dell’Armonia e dell’Invenzione, Op.8

(The Contest between Harmony and Invention)The Four Seasons

Picture by Lois and Bob Schlowsky, Tony Stone Images – taken from cover of Telarc CD83417.


An inktroduction by Rene Chia


Recordings of The Four Seasons literally number in the hundreds. As such, choosing one for investment or for review must necessarily be selective. For this survey of available recordings, upcoming reviews are listed below with those which are available now at the Inkpot.

In reviewing these performances, I will of course consider the quality of recording as well as the skill of the performers. In addition, I will highlight and recommend those which show creativity or inventiveness of interpretation.

Everyone has his or her favourite movements, and mine is the beautiful “Winter Largo”. For each season, I will also look out for the sleeping goatherd and barking dog of Spring , the violin solo storm in Summer, and “The Hunt” in Autumn. Pick your favourite Seasonings and bon apptit !

Note: in all reviews, “Spring I” refers to the first movement of Spring; “Autumn II” means the second movement of Autumn, etc. Couplings in the CDs, if available, are listed but not reviewed. The first name in each entry refers to the violin soloist.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons: A Survey of Recordings

Marco Pedrona with the Ensemble Guidantus Reviewed by Chia Han-Leon.

DATUM DAT 80001
full-price. Modern instruments with sound effects.

Takako Nishizaki with the Capella Istropolitana Reviewed by Chia Han-Leon.

NAXOS 8.550056.
Budget-price. Modern instruments.

Andrew Manze with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra

ERATO 4509-94811-2.
Full-price. Period performance.

Piero Toso with I Solisti Veneti

ERATO Baroque Collection (Vol.14): 4509-99666-2 .
Mid-price. Modern instruments.

Jeanne Lamon with Tafelmusik

SONY Vivarte SK48251.
Full-price. Period performance.

Mariana Sirbu with I Musici

PHILIPS 446 699-2.
Full-price. Modern instruments, with lute in continuo.

Salvatore Accardo, with I Solisti di Napoli

PHILIPS Solo 442 393-2 (mid price) or 422 065-2 (full price).
Period violin, but modern-style performance.

Christopher Warren-Green, with the London Chamber Orchestra. Reviewed by Chia Han-Leon.

VIRGIN CLASSICS “Duo” VBD5 61466-2.
Superbudget-price (2 CDs for 1 mid-price). Modern instruments. Set contains numerous other Vivaldi concertos.

Amsterdam Guitar Trio

RCA VICTOR Gold Seal 09026-61652-2.
Mid price. Transcription for three guitars.

Gottfried von der Goltz with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra & the Harp Consort

DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 05472-77384-2.
Full-price. Period performance, with additional plucked-string consort.

Franke/Garibova/Laurin (solo violins) with mixed ensemble.

EARTHBEAT! Records 9-42584.
Full-price. Arranged for string orchestra with various traditional instruments of the world and the sounds of nature.

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