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GRAMOPHONE (07/2020)
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Reviewer: Mark Seow

Make sure you aren’t holding a cup of tea when you put this disc on. The opening chord is the first of many explosions of vigour in this latest addition to Naïve’s Vivaldi Edition, a recording project spearheaded by the musicologist Alberto Basso to record the Foà and Giordano collections at the Italian National Library in Turin. Of these nearly 450 works by Vivaldi, Julien Chauvin and Le Concert de la Loge present six violin concertos. The detail in the booklet notes – which includes a list of the instruments performed on by the orchestra, including soloist Chauvin’s Guarneri of 1721 – is fastidious, and the notes themselves contain some interesting musical analysis.

The playing throughout is full of energy, and there are plenty of highlights that bear mentioning. The Il Carbonelli Concerto, RV366, is particularly exciting. Chauvin’s tempo is enthusiastically fuelled by those around him. This wonderful sense of communal confidence, particularly from the continuo team, does excellent work to avoid the chugging of the ‘backing band’ that increasingly characterises recordings of Vivaldi’s concertos. The finale of the G minor Concerto, RV321, has funk and virtuosity in scoops, as does the opening movement of the Concerto in D, RV 217, which motors by with inexhaustible drive. Chauvin’s sound is textbook delightful. His tone, however, is consistently bright and assertive; moments that explore the melancholy or dip into tenderness might have lifted this recording to enviable heights.

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