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James Leonard, October 2009

As collections of random concertos by Vivaldi go, this one by the Concerto Köln is as good as any and better than most. It includes fourteen mostly relatively rarely recorded works, as well as a few well known ones like La Notte and La Tempesta di Mare. Concerto Köln, under the direction of concertmaster Werner Ehrhardt, is a better group of period instrument musicians than most. Throughout this two disc set, the Köln group plays with a light but warm tone, a tight but effortless ensemble, and a real feel for Vivaldi’s buoyant rhythms. The soloists, particularly flutist Eberhard Zummach, oboist Michael Niesemann, bassoonist David Mings and Ehrhardt himself, are all first rate. But perhaps the best aspect of this set is the quality of the sound: clear, clean, richly detailed, and very vivid. For listeners who’ve heard The Four Seasons a sufficient number of times, this set may provide a richer view of Vivaldi’s range as a composer.

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