Vivaldi Concerti di ParigiAntonio Vivaldi

Concerti di Parigi

Il delirio fantastico

Vincent Bernhardt, conductor

Calliope, 2017

The album Concerti di Parigi (“Paris Concertos”) features Antonio Vivaldi’s twelve concertos contained in a mysterious manuscript discovered in Paris, evidence that the fame of the Venetian composer was spread beyond the Alps.

Nothing is known for sure about this manuscript, probably written in the 1720s and taken to France by an anonymous purchaser who – it is legitimate to suppose – was as enthusiast as naive because only two of the twelve concertos are original, while the others are copies of the originals preserved in Turin. Incidentally, it is on the Turin versions of the concertos that this recording is based because they are revised and shortened in the French manuscript.

The twelve concertos date from the 1720s and maybe they were already out of fashion in Venice at that time, but they were a novelty in Paris, where it was unusual to compose a concerto without a soloist. Moreover, it was precisely in the second decade of the 18th century that the Vivaldian model became à la mode in France and that many publications of his works were released by music publisher Charles-Nicholas Le Clerc, a pioneer in music publishing as «he was the first in France to have the idea of establishing a repertory of engraved works on which he had sole rights, following the principle which Ballard had been applying for generations with printed music» (quote from the New Grove). In Le Clerc catalogue, there were Vivaldi’s Trio Sonatas op. 1, the Estro Armonico op. 3 and Il Cimento dell’Armonia e dell’Inventione op. 8 (with the Four Seasons). The price of these publications was anyway exorbitant and hand-written copies (as the manuscript with the twelve Paris concertos) were widely diffused.

Il delirio fantastico, conducted by Vincent Bernhard, offers a nice introduction to Vivaldi’s concertos. The ensemble plays beautifully and the only flaw is a little lack of tension that anyway does not prevent the works to be amusing. The great skill of the performers, that is possible to hear splendidly thanks to the excellent sound of the recording, compensates and sometimes makes you forget that something is missed. They always play with enthusiasm and in perfect harmony, so that it is clear that they are responsive with each other, revealing an incredible unity.

This is maybe not the best Vivaldi album, but it is an enjoyable one and have some features that must not be disregarded.