Review: Good but not quite great
I like this disc, but it's not quite as special as I was hoping it would be. I love Amandine Beyer's work with Gli Incogniti and Giuliano Carmignola is a very fine Baroque player; in many ways they produce the goods here but I do have some reservations.
This is an interesting and quite varied programme of double violin concerti with – contrary to some beliefs about Vivaldi – a good variety of moods. There are plenty of Vivaldi's familiar virtuosic pyrotechnics, but also genuine minor-key drama and some very lovely slower movements, too. The players, soloists and ensemble alike, do seem to go at almost all of it with immense vigour, and while I'm all for Vivaldi being invested with plenty of fire and emotion, I think there does need to be a little more variation of tone. It does happen sometimes – the Largo of RV527 is exquisite, for example – just not quite enough for me.
I also found the sound balance a little odd at times, with the soloists mixed rather a long way back so there were moments when I was struggling to make out the solo lines among the ensemble.
Neither of these is a massive criticism; they are both quite personal perceptions and others may not agree with them. This is certainly a very good disc of Vivaldi from two terrific players and a very fine ensemble. It's not quite the fabulous treat I was expecting, but I can still recommend it.