||The Four Seasons: The Vivaldi Album
||Anne Akiko Meyers
Anne Akiko Meyers is a name that is synonymous with virtuosity, sophistication, and beauty. The release of “The Four Seasons: The Vivaldi Album” marks her fourth appearance on the eOne Music label, and this undertaking raises the artistic bar even further that her last release, “Air: The Bach Album,” which spent 4 weeks in the #1 Classical Billboard Chart position, and a total of 28 weeks on the Classical Chart.
While Ms. Meyers happen to be seasoned professional in the recording studio, her recent acquired violin, the Guarneri del Gesu Vieuxtemps, is not. 273 years after its creation, the fiddle is making its recording debut. This violin, in fact, was created in the same year - 1741 - that Vivaldi died. But the parallels between GDG Vieuxtemps and Vivaldi do not end there.
Vivaldi, while a household name today, was relatively unknown to the world until a collection of his music was found in an Italian boarding school in 1926. Thanks to the thoughtful and diligent work of a librarian from Turin who reconstructed and preserved the collection of manuscripts, Vivaldi’s music made a resurgence on the concert stage. “The Four Seasons,” which is a featured work on this recording, is, in fact, Vivaldi’s most popular work.
While Vivaldi’s works were being rediscovered and performed for the first time, the GDG Vieuxtemps was about to be put into hibernation, laying dormant under the bed of a violin collector in London. For the better part of 50 years, the instrument was not played in public, nor did it ever receive a commercial recording. Having received a lifetime loan of the fiddle from an anonymous donor in the fall of 2012, Anne has played it around the world. The instrument has debuted in New York Carnegie Hall, Detroit, Los Angeles, Estonia, Taiwan and in recording with the English Chamber Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. The GDG Vieuxtemps is widely regarded as the finest violin in the world, and one of just 150 surviving violins from the hands of this exceptional luthier.
A general part of the success of this recording is due in part to the splendid performances English Chamber Orchestra under the baton of maestro David Lockington, in which they are an ideal match for the power and beauty of the soloist and her instrument. The performances of the “Four Seasons” are spirited and effervescent, with the orchestral tuttis masterfully balanced with the power of the instrument. Ms. Meyers is playing all three parts of the Concenrto RV511 on the Guarneri del Gesu Vieuxtemps. The marriage of the tree solo parts together results in an amazingly powerful layering of sound. Between the Vivaldi works is a hauntingly beautiful piece by Arvo Part, whose music speaks beautifully with direct simplicity and purity.
English Chamber Orchestra
David Lockington, conductor
Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, “La primavera” (Spring)
1- I. Allegro
2- II. Largo e pianissimo sempre
3- III. Danza pastorale
Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, “L’estate” (Summer)
4- I. Allegro non molto
5- II. Adagio e piano - Presto e forte
6- III. Presto
Concerto No. 3 in F major, Op. 8, RV 293, “L’autunno” (Autumn)
7- I. Allegro
8- II. Adagio molto
9- III. Allegro
Concerto No. 4 in F minor, Op. 8, RV 297, “L’inverno” (Winter)
10- I. Allegro non molto
11- II. Largo
12- III. Allegro
Concerto in F major, RV 551, for Three Violins
14- I. Allegro
15- II. Andante
16- III. Allegro