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GRAMOPHONE (11/2022)
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Reviewer :
Mark Seow

Julien Chauvin and Le Concert de la Loge bring us the latest in their Vivaldi Edition with Naïve, a recording project of the Foà and Giordano collections at the Italian National Library in Turin. Totalling nearly 450 works by Vivaldi, the project is now past two-thirds completion, and this is the 10th volume of violin concertos. An impressive endeavour, indeed, more so for how the sound has developed even in the past two years. In my last review of the project (7/20), I described Chauvin’s sound as ‘textbook delightful’. Well, to use the word ‘textbook’ now would be a bit of an insult. Chauvin’s musicianship has evolved in the most splendid ways, and Le Concert de la Loge have matured beautifully, too.


This latest instalment is of the Concertos RV237, 314 and 340, composed expressly by Vivaldi for the virtuoso violinist and concertmaster of the court orchestra in Dresden, Johann Georg Pisendel. Three other concertos are included – RV225, 226 and 369 – which were copied by Pisendel in his own hand. The interpretations really are superb. If you need a taster, look no further than the opening Concerto in G, RV314. Chauvin enters like lightning, a nanosecond after the cadence of the ritornello section. It’s dazzlingly cool, and sets up an electricity that does not abate. The second movement, an Adagio, has the strings put down their bows. But there’s a richness to the recorded texture beyond the pizzicato backdrop of melancholy raindrops – an evocation that adds up to more than the sum of its parts (a mystery that I’m struggling to put into words). Chauvin’s melody is pure loveliness, spiralling in breath and breadth of phrase. The final Allegro is Baroque music in its most joyful primary colours. The clarity achieved by the orchestra is exceptional, and the abundance of punch and fizz, not to mention the heady momentum, makes for the most enjoyable romp (plus the most fantastic of grunts at 2'16"). Bravi tutti.




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