Stravinsky’s alleged description of Vivaldi as “a dull fellow who wrote the same concerto 300 times over” prompts the question “How many did he know?” – especially when you listen to one of the published sets of 12 for violin and orchestra. The variety of Op 9 astounds the ear, especially in these feisty readings, which emphasise the folksy roots of the dance movements and lend them an almost funky modernity. The highlight here is the B flat major double concerto – with Judith Steenbrink as second violinist – and especially the largo e spiccato, juxtaposing a jerky orchestral ritornello with a languid ‘love duet’.
(...) soliste en ensemble weten elkaar te vinden in een goede stroom van toe- en afnemende energie. Natuuurlijk is alles ook voortreffelijk geregistreerd, zoals bij Cahnnel verwacht kan worden.
Rachel Podger gives as authoritative and accomplished account of the solo parts as one could wish for. The vitality and freshness of her playing in the fast movements is a joy, as is the sweetness of her sound in Vivaldi’s lovely cantabile largos. (…) Jared Sacks once again provided the listener with demonstration quality on both SACD and CD layers. Another must own disc if you please.
Rachel Podgers Einspielung von Vivaldis Violikonzertsammlung "La Cetra" ist schlichtweg sensationell - einfühlsam, tonschön, agil, lebendig, ausdrucksstark. (...)Die flexibel agierende Streichergruppe wird vom empfindsam begleitenden Basso continuo hervorragend ergänzt. (...) So vereint diese Einspielung alles, was die Schönheit der Musik Vivaldis ausmacht.
Podger plays with her customary beauty of tone, purity of tuning and lively variety of articulation, giving a delightfully unforced, spontaneous impression.(…)
a triumphant return to Vivaldi (...) Perhaps unsurprisingly in each and every one of these performances there is a sense of total rapport between Rachel Podger and the players of what is arguably the finest and certainly most versatile European period performance group.(...) One of the great delights of this set is that because each of the concertos is so varied in character and the performances are so captivating, one can happily listen to all twelve in a single two-hour sitting without the slightest manifestation of ennui ever creeping in. (...) The two SACDs are attractively presented in a double digipak and the liner notes include Rachel Podger's thoughts on both the music and working with the HBS. An amusing letter to Vivaldi by Judith Steenbrink “On behalf of the musicians of the Holland Baroque Society” completes the package.
Performance 5* / Sonics 5*
we worden voortdurend vergast op verrassing en contrast. Wat daarbij zeker heeft geholpen was de wel zeer gelukkig uitgevallen wisselwerking met de continuogroep van Holland Baroque Society, met name tijdens de dialogen met de soloviool. (...) De opname paart transparantie aan definitie zonder scherpte.
those who admire Vivaldi’s violin concertos find in them a compendium of idiomatic gestures and techniques. But everyone’ should find as well a wealth of expression, lovingly recreated by Podger and the society. Recommended, urgently.
Vibrant, Vivacious Vivaldi from Holland (…) A search for the best recording of a given set of Vivaldi violin concertos gets easier with every new release from Rachel Podger. Her last effort for Channel Classics, a scintillating recording of the 12 concertos of La Stravaganza (Op. 4) simply blew away the existing competition and this one promises to do the same. (...) Podger is a dynamic and unfailingly accurate virtuoso with exceptional interpretive instincts (...) The Holland Baroque Society is a superb ensemble - a group of young and very talented musicians whose inherent youthful energy and technical virtuosity, not to mention serious dedication to their music, reassures us older types that the future of classical music is secure.
MusicWeb - International
This is a real dose of the good stuff, and from the outset you know you’re in for a great time with this recording. This is evidenced by generously orchestrated harmonies, a swinging rhythmic drive and deliciously empathetic solo lines in the Allegro which kicks off the entire collection in the Concerto No. 1 RV 181a. Those lines are simultaneously virtuoso and superbly attuned to the chamber music feel of the entire ensemble. (...) Channel Classics has a knack of providing just the right proportions of warmth and detail in their recordings of baroque repertoire. This SACD production goes a step further, creating an aural picture of sparkling transparency and using the Waalse Kerk acoustic to provide a sense of space and air in the sound which is bewitchingly convincing. (...)
Opus One Review
Rachel Podger’s solo violin skylarks high above all like an ecstatic bird. (...) Holland Baroque Society meets Rachel Podger is an album of great art by great artists. (...) The sound of this recording is impeccable, celebrating the unique colours of the period instruments including lute, organ and harpsichord. I have it on good authority that the Channel Classic’s sound is faithful to the acoustics of Amsterdam’s Waalse Kerk .
Hier wird mit Spaß, ja mit Lust musiziert. Und Rachel Podger gint all ihre Erfahrung, all ihr Künstlertum dazu. (…) Empfindsamheit, Anmut und Wärme paaren sich mit Kraft, Feuer und Hochspannung! Solche eine delikate Interpretation hört man selten. (…)
CD - Tipp
The Absolute Sound
Podgers playing is as effervescent as ever but even more confident. Her ‘historically-informed’ execution is perfectly natural, almost off-hand, ‘original instrument’ playing all grown-up. This time out, The Holland Baroque Society collaborates and its playing, too, is invigorating. (...)
Superbe image orchestrale, ample, large et profonde. (…) Excellent relief. Timbres charnus et chaud. (…) Sa maturité répond à celle du compositeur (…) La formation épouse amoureusement les courbes de sa soliste (…) Rachel sait jouer à la diva (…) sa technique est éblouissante (…)
(…) Superb orchestral image, rich, large and profound. (…) Excellent relief (…) full and warm tones. (…) her [Rachel Podger’s] maturity responds to that of the composer (…) the group marries amorously the curves of its solist (…) her technique is dazzling (…)
Classical Music Sentinel
What I admire the most about this recording is the earnest approach that both Rachel Podger and the Holland Baroque Society bring to this music. (...) these musicians simply seek out the music's inner drama and bring it to the fore.(...) All in all an enjoyable and worthwhile addition to the large Vivaldi catalogue of recordings. A fresh new take on 'La Cetra' which should easily displace its other "outdated" recordings.
Podger and her Dutch band seek out the peculiarities, the differences and surprises. The fast movements are joyful, almost dancelike, and the slow movements are embellished in ways that can be practically bluesy. (…) the recording is spectacular (…) These performances are beauties, every one.
WQXR: Album of the Week
he performances are not eccentric. Neither overfed and ponderous like old modern-instrument recordings, nor aggressive and edgy as is the current fad, Podger’s interpretation is generally middle ground. It's well tuned, and supported by a richly varied continuo of archlute, theorbo, guitar, organ and harpsichord. (...)
her (Rachel Podger’s) playing throughout is a model of grace and utter security (…) there’s a refinement in Podger’s approach that especially informs the meltingly expressive slow movements. (…) besides the superb artistry of Rachel Podger, The Holland Baroque Society outdo themselves here (…) Bravo to one and all involved in this project.