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Fanfare Magazine: 4:4 (03-04 /2023) 
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Reviewer: James V. Maiello

Conceived by Italian musicologist Alberto Basso and launched in 2000, the Vivaldi Editions is one of the central projects of the Naïve label. Its aim is to record in toto the music contained in a vast collection of Vivaldi’s autograph manuscripts now housed in the Biblioteca Nazionale in Turin. The present disc is Volume 69 of the edition and the 10th volume of the violin concertos. French violinist Julien Chauvin serves as the soloist, leading Le Concert de la Loge, the orchestra he founded in 2015. The program coalesces around concertos connected in some way to Georg Pisendel, the virtuoso violinist to whom Vivaldi dedicated three of the works on the recording (RV 237, 314, and 340). Pisendel copied the other three during a visit to Venice in 1716–17 in the musical retinue of Crown Prince Friedrich August of Saxony.

Chauvin is a remarkably self-possessed soloist, and his approach is cultured and engaging. He is neither coolly aloof nor does he resort to gimmicky pyrotechnics, letting the inherent drama of Vivaldi’s music speak for itself. In the first movement of G-Major Concerto (RV 314) that opens the program, for example, Chauvin’s playing is vital and clean without creating a tasteless spectacle. The Adagio that follows is perfect, from the pizzicato strings to the touching solo lines. He sails through the passagework in the finale of RV 226 with a relaxed joviality that keeps things light and offers a similarly frothy take on the opening movement of RV 340. Vivaldi treated the slow movements with somewhat more care than some of his contemporaries, and it is gratifying to see them receive such careful attention here. As a case in point, the Largo of RV 225 is expressive and lyrical, but the moderate tempo ensures that the music does not languish.

These are breezy performances, full of subtle shading and detailed nuances; they are expressive, but not sappy. Chauvin sets the tone, but the ensemble takes up this mantle and runs with it to great effect. In the fast movements, the staccato playing is never clipped, and the players leave just enough space for the sound to ring. The orchestra creates delicate moods in the slow movement, whether through gentle pizzicatos or refined washes of strings. The string sound is centered but light, balanced from the middle so that both the bass and treble extremes stay proportional. The ensemble playing is taut and cohesive, a secure base for Chauvin’s glittering solo playing. This is another welcome installment of Naïve’s mammoth Vivaldi project.

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