Grandissima Gravita (2017)

Vivaldi, Veracini, Pisendel, Tartini

Rachel Podger, Brecon Baroque

av: Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
gt: Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770)
fmv: Francesco Maria Veracini (1690-1768)
jgp: Johann Georg Pisendel (1687-1755)

the scene (from booklet) 
Vivaldi, Tartini, Veracini and Pisendel are slouched on divans. Loud and tipsy, they dominate this corner of heaven reserved for a very specific type of musician: the violinist-composer. Here, once a year, on the seventeenth day of the second month, these violinists gather to reminisce, gossip and argue. Their discussions often venture into the technical; they discuss bow technique, ornamentation, acoustics. This evening they also indulge in the personal. Stories flow with the ease and speed of wine from a jug, and it is at this point that we join them in salutation.


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Rachel Podger

Rachel Podger is one of the most creative talents to emerge in the field of period performance. Over the last two decades she has established herself as a leading interpreter of the music of the Baroque and Classical periods. She was educated inGermany and in England at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she studied with David Takeno and Micaela Comberti. After beginnings with The Palladian Ensemble and Florilegium, she was leader ofThe English Concert from 1997 to 2002 and in 2004 began a guest directorship with The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with whom she appeared in a televised bbc Prom in 2007.

As a guest director and soloist she has collaborated with numerous orchestras including Arte dei Suonatori (Poland), Musica Angelica and Santa Fe ProMusica (usa), The Academy of Ancient Music, The European Union BaroqueOrchestra, Holland Baroque Society, the Handel and Haydn Society (usa), Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (usa). Rachel has toured and recorded extensively with fortepianist Gary Cooper. Rachel records exclusively for Channel Classics and has won numerous prestigious awards including the Baroque Instrumental Gramophone Award for La Stravaganza in2003 and the Diapason d’Or de l’année in the Baroque Ensemble category for the LaCetra Vivaldi concertos with Holland Baroque Society in 2012.

Rachel directs her own ensemble, Brecon Baroque, with whom she has recorded Bach’s Violin Concertos, released in October 2010 to outstanding reviews. She is also Artistic Director of her own festival: the Brecon Baroque Festival. Rachel is an honorary member of both the Royal Academy of Music (where she holds the Michaela Comberti Chair for Baroque Violin) and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (where she holds the Jane Hodge Foundation International Chair in Baroque Violin) and teaches at institutions throughout the world.

Brecon Baroque

The dynamic ensemble Brecon Baroque was founded in 2007 by violinist Rachel Podger as resident ensemble at her annual Brecon Baroque Festival. The international line-up consists of some of some of the leading lights in the period-instrument world, such as cellist Alison McGillivray, flautist Katie Bircher, oboist Alexandra Bellamy and violist Jane Rogers, as well as some of Rachel Podger's “star” former students who now occupy leading positions in many of Europe's finest ensembles.

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Grandissima Gravita (2017)

Vivaldi, Veracini, Pisendel, Tartini

Rachel Podger, Brecon Baroque

(...) Wer noch ein Weinachtsgeschenk für Freunde italienischer und italienisch inspirierter Geigenmisik des 18.Jahrhundert sucht, dürfte mit dieser CD goldrichtig liegen. (...)

Gero Schreier

(...) British Baroque violinist Rachel Podger has previously fascinated me both with Mozart's sonatas and early baroque kumbering, which explains his understanding of the extent and style of his infertility. The latest feature of Podger and record label Channel Classics with the title "Grandissima Gravita" is perhaps even more fascinating than before - it contains music from the baroque jewels of the Golden Age. Tartini, Veracini, Vivaldi and Pisendel were violinist composers in Italy at the beginning of the 18th century when the skill of composing a violin and playing music had evolved to a peak. (...)


(…) another gem in which each radiant quick strike of violin, cello, lute or harpsichord is heard buoyant and tactile alive. (...) This recording is so present and dynamic that you can easily visualize Podger smiling and dancing in place to each of her long punctuated strokes (or dynamic quip) on her violin. (...)

(...) Most evident are Podger's distinctively tangy, pungent sound—a winning combination of acid and sweetness that seems ideal for her chosen repertoire—and her ability to enliven every phrase she plays. Auditioned via a stereo DSD128 download from, Podger's playing sounds glorious throughout. (...) another potential award-winner for Podger and Brecon Baroque

Jason Victor Serinus[read full review]

    The Strad

Her accounts of the Vivaldi, Tartini and Pisendel sonatas are all turned with style, imagination and sensitivity and she introduces vibrato and extempore ornamentation freely. She is underpinned throughout by an excellent continuo team (...) The recording is typically lucid, detailed and ideally balanced.

Robin Stowell

    Stereophile Magazine [March 2018] -

A treat for baroque completists and violin lovers [4 stars for Performance, 5 stars for Sonics]

Robert Levine

    Positive Feedback

Snow showers! On November 13. In Western Massachusetts! And unexpectedly this album of baroque violin sonatas sounds warm and comforting that last week seemed a bit indifferent. I've learned not to underestimate the role meteorological (and other) conditions can play in how music strikes me. Rachel Podger, who has become one of the stars of the baroque violin, has been moving beyond her usual fare of late, a reward for having earned her stripes with Bach, Mozart, and Vivaldi. She is now free to sort through appealing works by lesser lights. For our pleasure. Accompanied by her usual friends these days, including the always dependable cellist, Alison Gillivray. These two musicians have a wonderful way with each other and Veracini in particular is the benefactor. This music occupies the territory where beauty and play intersect which perfectly suits Podger's performing personality. Last week this album wanted little to do with me, this week it loves me. So consider this album when the snow flies near you.

Bob Neill[read full review]

    Gramophone [Editor's Choice - Dec 2017] -

Programmed and presented with flair, and faultlessly performed, this is a listening experience of unbridled pleasure. An exceptional album.

Charlotte Gardner[read full review]

    Musicweb International

Superbly performed and recorded as you would expect, this is a very fine collection of some intriguing and entertaining works. Bringing out the best of four musicians, the sound created is full and colourful, from sparkling harpsichord, thrumming lute and support for the bass line from the cello, Rachel Podger’s virtuoso violin has plenty of substance over which it can sing and declaim with joyous expressiveness. (...) this is some of the best Baroque period music making currently available on this particular planet.

    Luister (Luister 9) -

(...) De violiste inspireert met haar ongelofelijk verfijnde en kalme spel en laat horen terecht gekroond te zijn tot koningin van de barokviool (...) sensitieve musici (...) Een groot compliment verdient Mark Seow, schrijver van de programmatoelichting. (...) -

(...) the contribution of members of Brecon Baroque – Daniele Caminiti (lute and guitar), Alison McGillivray (cello) and Marcin ?wi?tkiewicz (harpsichord) – is as delightful and imaginative as that of the soloist. (...) unusual and amusing liner notes by Mark Seow (...) the sound on this multi-channel DSD possesses the remarkable vividness, warmth and realism that one has come to expect from every Channel Classics release on SACD. (...) The typically incomparable level of artistry and technical excellence Rachel Podger and her Brecon Baroque colleagues brings to each of these sonatas ensure that this SACD warrants the highest recommendation.

Graham Williams[read full review]

    Diapason (5) -

Rachel Podger, aussi spirituelle que lyrique, en transe ou méditant, l’archet bien à la corde ou peignant les harmoniques, fait face à ces ténèbres avec une telle spontanéité qu’elle rend unique chacune de ces pages, et met magnifiquement en valeur le clair-obscur de cette musique italienne.

    BBC Music Magazine [Chamber Choice, Dec 2017] -

"Rachel Podger, inevitably, is the star, but ultimately the disc's compulsive spell is down to the triumph of ensemble chemistry. Even the humblest of cello lines is elevated beyond functionality into something expressive and integral to the overall effect. Bewitching." 5 ***** for Performance 5 ***** for Recording

Paul Riley

    Opus Klassiek

(...) Dit zijn uitvoeringen die van begin tot eind een diepe indruk maken. (...)de perfecte articulatie, het kleurrijke lijnenspel, de pregnante ritmiek, de bereidheid ook om het scherp van de snede op te zoeken. En dan is er niet in de laatste plaats Jared Sacks die in het Londense St Jude's-on-the-Hill er weer een opnamtechnisch juweel van heeft gemaakt.

Aart van der Wal

    IClassical -

Another superb recording from the award-winning Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque.

    BBC Radio 3 - CD Review

The expressive freedom they find together is a real joy. (...) The quality of conversation between the four of them is riveting, full of incident and dynamic interplay.

Grandissima Gravita (2017)

Vivaldi, Veracini, Pisendel, Tartini

Rachel Podger, Brecon Baroque

Cables: van der Hul
Digital Converters: Hapi 256fs
Editing Software: Pyramix
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mastering Room: Grimm LS1
Microphones: Bruel & Kyaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom made
Producer: Jonathan Freeman-Attwood
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording location: St. Jude's on the Hill, Hampstead, London
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: 256fs

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39217: Grandissima Gravita
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Sonata for violin and continuo in A major op. 2 no. 2
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Sonata for violin and continuo in A minor - Andante Cantabile
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Sonata for violin and continuo in A minor - Allegro
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Sonata for violin and continuo in A minor - Allegro assai
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Sonata for violin and continuo in G minor op 2 no. 5 - Adagio assai
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Sonata for violin and continuo in G minor op 2 no. 5 - Capriciio
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Sonata for violin and continuo in G minor op 2 no. 5 - Allegro assai
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Sonata for violin and continuo in G minor op 2 no. 5 - Giga
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Sonata for violin and harpsichord in C minor - Adaio
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Sonata for violin and harpsichord in C minor - Presto
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Sonata for violin and harpsichord in C minor - Affetuoso
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Sonata for violin and harpsichord in C minor - Vivace
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Sonata no. 12 for violin and continuo in D minor - Passagallo
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Sonata no. 12 for violin and continuo in D minor - Capriccio cromatico
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Sonata no. 12 for violin and continuo in D minor - Adagio, Ciaccona
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Sonata a solo in E flat major
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