Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, Locatelli ‘Il Labirinto Armonico’ – Chloe Chua, violin, Singapore Symphony Orchestra | The Flying Inkpot
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Spring, RV269
Locatelli: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op 3 No. 12 ‘Il labirinto armonico’
Chloe Chua, violin
Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Chan Yoong-Han, director
Total duration: 1h 2 min
Catalogue number: PTC5187062
Available from Pentatone or Presto Music
Review by Derek Lim
Sometimes it feels like there are as many recordings of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons as stars in the sky. Singaporean violinist Chloe Chua won joint-first prize in the junior category of the Menuhin Competition in 2018 with her performance of ‘Winter’ (you can watch that performance on YouTube here), and this debut recording on Pentatone, taped ‘live’ from performances at the Esplanade Concert Hall in 2022, serves as a worthy snapshot of greatness in the making. Just listening to ‘Winter’ reveals that interpretation has deepened and grown, with Chloe’s solo part ripe and mature and above all, musical and confident.
The fifteen-year old violinist plays to her strengths in the entire Four Seasons with straightforwardly musical interpretations which eschew the excesses of several historically informed performances. There’s a place in my heart for those of course, including the fabulously over-the-top Fabio Biondo with the Europa Galante, but her interpretation has an attractive purity, emphasizing the poetry of the seasons with beautiful, silvery tone on her Guadagnini, supported by a great technique, especially in her bow arm.
Musically refined too are her collaborators from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, led by Chan Yoong-Han (SSO’s Fixed Chair first violinist), with comfortable performances that are a joy to listen to.
The Locatelli ‘Il Laborinto Armonico’ Concerto that follows shows off even more of the same, with great control in the extended ricochet bowing in the first movement Capriccio, stunning double-stopped accuracy in the last movement Capriccio’s difficult string crossings, and faultless shifts in the arpeggiated passages that follow while always serving the music.
This release should satisfy the many fans Chloe Chua has garnered in the years since her win, or anyone looking for an unfussy, ungimmicky interpretation of The Four Seasons, or a gutsily-played ‘Il Laborinto Armonico”
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