INKPOT#46 CLASSICAL MUSIC REVIEWS: Vivaldi Four Seasons Survey Part 3 – Amsterdam Guitar Trio (RCA)

Antonio VIVALDI (1658-1741) The Four Seasons
(arr. Amsterdam Guitar Trio)

Johan Dorrestein Olga Franssen Helenus de Rijke

RCA Victor Gold Seal (BMG Classics) 9026-61652
[41:39] mid-price
Sonnets not included.

by Ren Chia

This is a beautiful arrangement (made by the trio) which is both intimate (three players) yet bold by virtue of the bright and cheery sound of the guitars. The Spring brook positively burbles. The solo guitar in the second and third movements plays with a Spanish feel in the music, producing a calm and thoughtful effect. Not unexpectedly, the soundboard is struck with the palm to provide a soft percussion accompaniment. The use of only three instruments reveals the harmonic colours of Vivaldi’s wonderful score.

The Trio is completely unfazed by Vivaldi’s semi-quaver, staccato-peppered score, as evident in their warm first movement from Summer, which ends with a nice flourish. Summer‘s middle movement is relaxed and meditative. For the heavy and raging storm sequences, one’s attention is drawn to the superb skill of the Trio, and not so much to the tone-painting. The arrangement makes excellent use of all three guitars and is faithful to the essence of the original music, while the Trio completely and marvellously demonstrate its place in guitar (and Vivaldi) repertoire.

A beautiful winter scene from Finland In Autumn, “The Hunt” is an enjoyable performance with clear running notes cascading like waterfalls, and distinctive portrayals of the hunting horn calls. There is an effortless feel to the performance. Winter is thoroughly enjoyable, with virtuosic playing, cleverly arranged secondary lines and many imaginative touches. In the gentle “Winter Largo”, the accompaniment brings to mind a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh through freshly fallen snow in a quiet forest. A harp-like introduction begins the final movement which makes a fittingly enjoyable ending to the whole CD.

Overall, I would highly recommend this CD to anyone who is looking for a version to listen to on one of those moody, meditative moments. It warms you up during cold ‘winters’ especially. I believe that even those who are not enthusiastic about guitar music (like me) will love this CD too.

This disc is available at or can be ordered from Tower (Pacific Plaza & Suntec City), HMV (The Heeren), Sing Discs (Raffles City) or Borders (Wheelock Place).

124: 24.1.98. up.11.6.1999 Ren Teo

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