Antonio Vivaldi: La Stravaganza

This CD contains incisive yet warmly melodic music by “the red priest,” Antonio Vivaldi. La Stravaganza, as the title implies, is extravagant. It’s a two-CD set of 12 violin concertos, and, though it’s not as famous as Le Quattro Stagioni (the Four Seasons) or L’Estro Armonico (Harmonic Fancy), La Stravaganza is a must-have. Here, Vivaldi dispensed with his Corelli influences and jumped in with distinctive ideas, resulting in musical wonders and refinements. Boldly incisive rhythms, rapidly running accented passages, solo vs. ensemble refinements and many other dramatic moments abound. Rachel Podger and the Arte dei Suonatori ensemble are superb, as is the sound quality. Vivaldi fans shouldn’t hesitate. And, as a foretaste, crank it up and play disc one, cut 12. It will bring you to your feet!