Vivaldi: Violin Concertos

If you like your Vivaldi fast and furious, the violinist Daniel Hope offers plenty of fireworks on his exhilarating new Deutsche Grammophon disc, dedicated to the Baroque composer?s music. The first movement to the Concerto in D Major (RV 234), "L?Inquietudine," opens with explosive fervor -- an energy level also displayed in the Concerto in E-flat, "La Tempesta di Mare," whose difficulty Hope compares to some of Paganini?s music. But the disc is certainly more than just virtuosic dazzle: Hope plays with soulful introspection and quiet dignity in the melancholic slow movements, such as the haunting Largo from the Concerto in E Minor (RV 273). He is accompanied by the excellent Chamber Orchestra of Europe and a continuo group that includes the prominent harpsichordist Kristian Bezuidenhout and performers of the Baroque guitar and harp, theorbo and lirone (a bowed instrument). Hope uses a modern instrument but observes period practice traditions regarding phrasing and ornamentation and the use of minimal vibrato. The result is fresh, invigorating, and deeply expressive. The mezzo-soprano Anne-Sofie von Otter is the soloist in the one vocal excerpt: the gentle aria "Sovvente il sole" from Andromeda Liberata. Her heartfelt, richly hued singing is aptly complimented by Hope?s sweet-toned solos. The disc, which also features an elegant rendition of the Sonata in D Minor Op. 1 no. 12, "La Follia," finishes on a dynamic note with a spirited performance of the Concerto in D Minor Op. 3, no. 11, which Hope often played as a teenager with his mentor, Yehudi Menuhin.

July 29: On this day in 1878 Don Marquis was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).