Vivaldi - L'Estro Armonico (2015)


Rachel Podger, Brecon Baroque

 Vivaldi has, above all, always struck me as wonderfully entertaining. His musical shapes and figurations seem to exist in order to please and surprise. Always supremely idiomatic (although sometimes idiosyncratically specific), there’s also that sense of directing a sensation with a particular person in mind. In the 12 Concertos which comprise ‘L’Estro Armonico’, these qualities abound, not least because Vivaldi appears to have taken extraordinary trouble to exhibit his craft to the world, almost as a way of ‘setting out a stall’ for how a new 18thcentury concerto could now be written in the right hands. Underpinning Vivaldi’s flair, originality and meticulous attention to detail is an engine room of momentum: raw energy is regularly the order of the day with muscular layers of semiquavers and rapid acrobatics passed between the various configurations of soloists. These pieces are truly exhilarating to play and perform and their fresh impact never fails to hit some target or other, judging by the reaction of a live audience. Not often do you witness four violins trying to outdo each other! During Brecon Baroque’s concerts preceding the recording, the rapierlike turns in musical conversations between the four parts always seemed to lead to added expectation and excitement – all the more effective because of the contrasted moments of deep melancholy which Vivaldi some how manages to express irrespective of mode; like Schubert, a major key can be just as poignant and affecting as a minor in a conceit of sadness or loss. For example, in the slow movements of Concertos nos. 9 and 12 in D and E major respectively, there is an exquisite tenderness in his writing, something fragile, innocent and temporary; I catch myself wondering for whom these moments were created… I would like to thank all my wonderful colleagues for these many intense moments of energy, tenderness and joy while performing and recording these fantastic concertos – works which intrigued Bach and from which he mined so many of the very finest Vivaldian attributes. Rachel Podger 

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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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Vivaldi - L'Estro Armonico (2015)


Rachel Podger, Brecon Baroque


Zet de ramen maar open, laat de lentezon maar binnenkomen en verras je buren met je fijne muzieksmaak. (...) een (zoveelste) topper!

    Klassieke Zaken

Transparante opname (...) ingetogen intimiteit worden op spontane wijze afgewisseld met gedreven levenslust. (...)


(...) rhythmischer Energie, melodischer Intensität und dramatischem Flair (...)

    Iowa Public Radio, Best of 2015 ‘GOLD’

(...) The performers bring out subtleties you didn’t know were there and make each concerto sound individual (...) and her conducting above all is what makes this release stand out in a banner year for Vivaldi releases.

    Luister 4/5 stars -

Rachel Podger is een van de leidende talenten op het gebied van de Baroque en klassieke perioden vanaf de zeventiende eeuw. (...) fenomenale geluidskwaliteit (...)

    Herold Scotland (top 20 classical recordings 2015, no.18)

L’Estro Armonico is a set of 12 violin concertos composed by Vivaldi in 1711.The blithe and technical pizzazz are feisty and spontaneous in the hands of Rachel Podger and her crack Brecon Baroque ensemble. There’s no sense of hierarchy here, but a real feeling of everyone mucking in and genuinely enjoying themselves.

    Europadisc Top 10 2015

(...) In these one-to-a-part accounts, the sense of enjoyment is tangible and infectious, and Vivaldi’s ground-breaking concertos sound newly-minted.


(...) Englands führende Barockgeigerin und iht exzellentes zehnköpfiges Brecon Baroque Ensemble verknüpfen hier überschäumende Spielfreude mit aberwitziger virtuoser Präzision und Rasanz, sodass de Zuhörer ein Feuerwerk tänzerischer Eleganz und filigraner Transparenz erlebt und eine echte Charmeoffensive, die endlich einmal die Modernität und den grenzenlosen Einfallsreichtum Vivaldis aufzeigt und so auf hohem Niveau beste Unterhaltung bietet. (...)

    Toccata - CD des Monats

(...) eine explosive Mischung aus liebenswerten, verspielten, frechen Ideen (...) hier spürt man soviel Musikalität, soviel Liebe zu den Details und solch entwaffende Beherrschung diese Instrumentariums. (...) Dies ist die perfekte Einspielung von Vivaldi’s zwölf Concerti grossi op. 3 “L’Estro Armonico“. Hut ab!

    La Boite a Musique

Podger et Brecon Baroque nous offrent la nouvelle référence de ce monument vivaldien. Na een bekroonde La Stravaganza en La Cetra, leveren Rachel Podger en Brecon Baroque een nieuwe referentie-opname af van dit monument van Vivaldi.


(...) sie verstehen es überschäumende Spielfreude so mit aberwitziger virtuoser Präzision und Rasanz zu verknüpfen, das der Zuhörer hier ein Feuerwerk tänzerischen Eleganz und filigraner Transparenz erlebt und eine echte Charmeoffensive, die endlich einmal die Modernität und den grenzlosen Einfallsreichtum Vivaldis aufzeigt und so auf hohem Niveau beste Unterhaltung bietet: ein Album mit hohem Suchtfaktor.

    Classic Voice – Disco del Mese

(...) La ‘novità’ di questo Vivaldi sta tutta – e finalmente! – nella giustezza e nella freschezza di attitudine con cui viene suonato, senza mai far baccano (...)


Wer italienische Sonne zu Hause genießen möchte, wer Vitalität und Frische tanken will, wer die Seele baumeln lassen möchte, der sollte sich „L’Estro Armonico“ von Antonio Vivaldi in der Interpretation der Geigerin Rachel Podger und des Orchesters „Brecon Baroque“ anhören. (…) wenn sie so spontan und quirlig gespielt werden wie hier, dann machen diese originellen, mit leichter Hand geschriebenen Werke dem Hörer viel Freude und bereiten ihm, dem Titel entsprechend, „musikalisches Entzücken“


(…) In 2015, building an audience is classical music's central dilemma-so having a dominant player like baroque violinist Rachel Podger is a much-needed development. (…) As is usually the case with the Italian master, the tempos are sprightly, almost fizzy in spots. Under Podger's active intelligence and inspiring vision, rhythmic energy is always the center of these performances, as she and her ensemble fly through the fast bits, assaying each ornament with dramatic flair. (…) I loved the balanced depth of the images of the soloists and the accompanying ensemble. Stereophile editor John Atkinson's verdict: "a paradigm of modern classical recording."

    ND -

De muziek van Vivaldi is afwisselend, grillig soms, en wordt door Podger met haar ensemble levendig uitgevoerd.


(...) eenvoud als kenmerk van het ware. Ook in de keuze van tempi, frasering en dynamiek werkt die eenvoud door, met als resultaat dat bij herhaald luisteren het plezier alleen maar toeneemt.(...) Podger profiteer bovendien van een prachtige opname, waarin werkelijk alles volmaakt op zijn plaats valt.

    Akapelle 4 stars

Kann manvon Vivaldi jemals genug bekommen? NEIN! Und schon gar nicht, wenn Rachel Podger mit dem Orchester Brecon Baroque auf zwei CDs die Concertos Opus 3 so furios und mitreißend interpretiert. 12 ganz wunderbare Concertos.

    Musicweb International

Podger and each individual group of soloists convey an alert, fresh feel to the vivacious Allegros and this contrasts pleasingly with the engaging and often captivating playing of the slow movements. I have no hesitation in positioning this set alongside the finest accounts in the catalogue. (...) Using my standard CD player this Channel Classics SACD has the benefit of excellent sonics being vividly clear and well balanced.

    Treffpunkt Klassik

(...) Sie alle spielen diese Vivaldi-Konzerte mit hörbarer Lust, mit Schwung und Phantasiereichtum. Auch klanglich finde ich diese CD ganz wunderbar: sonor und kraftvoll – das sind ja für viele englische Ensembles typische Qualitäten.

    The Times

(...) as her fingers fly through the concerto 12 –pack, L’Estro Armonico, your feet tap and your pulse quickens without the music being pushed to extremes. (...) a scintalling album.

    Sinfini Music

(...) there’sno trace here of a production-line formula: the music’s non-stop invention sparkles with the kind of open-air freedom and sense of fun that’s Vivaldi’s trademark. (...) Brecon Baroque’s performances are something special. Rachel Podger’s solo playing combines expressive warmth (including beautifully judged vibrato) with marvellous deftness of touch (...)

    Gramophone - recording of the Month

(...) these one-to-a-part performances by Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque have the heat to make your blood run faster (...) In these pieces her musical personality finds a home so congenial that it simply bursts from the speakers. (...)

    Diapason D’Or

‘L’équilibre rêvé entre ... invention (estro) et harmonie (armonico).

    Luister 10 -

Weer zo’n pareltje van violiste Rachel Podger (...) Podger heeft de eenvoud tot kunst verheven, in klank, in taal en in gevoel. (...) Deze muziek, van voor de tijd dat muziek een ‘liedje’ werd, brengt intimiteit; Podger lijkt in al haar bescheidenheid alleen voor jou te spelen.

    Sächsische Zeitung Dresden

Die Violinköningin spielt Vivaldi genial (...) ein großartiges Erlebnis (...) Podger, die schon bei den Mozart-Sonaten konkurrenzlos war, beweist auch hier ihre einzigartige Klasse: ein Referenzalbum!

    BBC Music Recording of the Month -

Rachel Podger and her group Brecon Baroque are on virtuosic and lively form for an impeccable and uplifting performance of Vivaldi’s L’estro amonico violin concertos. (...) Inspirational originality elicts inspirational playing (...) Every phrase has direction and purpose (...) the recording is excellent, the church acoustic wrapping even the most biting figurations in a warm velvety glow.

    SACD.Net -

It need hardly be said that Jared Sacks has achieved a clean and beautifully focused sound quality on these SACDs that does full justice to the efforts of these dedicated musicians. (...) excellent liner notes (...) In every way an outstanding issue and an unqualified success for all concerned.

    Classic FM UK

(...) All the ensemble’s rapier-like energy and dazzling brilliance is present on this recording which captures something of their live flair, sensitivity and intensity playing Vivaldi’s music. (...)

Vivaldi - L'Estro Armonico (2015)


Rachel Podger, Brecon Baroque

Cables: van den Hul
Digital Converters: Grimm AD DSD
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment: B&W diamond series
Microphones: Breul & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom made
Producer: Jonathan Freeman Attwood
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks, Ernst Coutinho
Recording location: London England
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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36515: Vivaldi - L'Estro Armonico
01:34:25   Select quality & channels above
Concerto No. 1 in D Major - Allegro
00:02:58   N/A
Concerto No. 1 in D Major - Largo e spiccato
00:02:12   N/A
Concerto No. 1 in D Major - Allegro
00:02:23   N/A
Concerto No. 2 in G minor - Adagio e spiccato Allegro
00:03:48   N/A
Concerto No. 2 in G minor - Larghetto
00:02:32   N/A
Concerto No. 2 in G minor - Allegro
00:02:27   N/A
Concerto No. 3 in G Major - Allegro
00:02:14   N/A
Concerto No. 3 in G Major - Largo
00:02:08   N/A
Concerto No. 3 in G Major - Allegro
00:02:08   N/A
Concerto No. 4 in E Minor - Andante
00:01:44   N/A
Concerto No. 4 in E Minor - Allegro assai
00:02:15   N/A
Concerto No. 4 in E Minor - Adagio - Allegro
00:02:41   N/A
Concerto No. 5 in A Major - Allegro
00:02:51   N/A
Concerto No. 5 in A Major - Largo
00:01:23   N/A
Concerto No. 5 in A Major - Allegro
00:02:48   N/A
Concerto No. 6 in A minor - Allegro
00:02:53   N/A
Concerto No. 6 in A minor - Largo
00:01:53   N/A
Concerto No. 6 in A minor - Presto
00:02:30   N/A
Concerto No. 7 in F Major - Andante
00:02:23   N/A
Concerto No. 7 in F Major - Adagio
00:01:12   N/A
Concerto No. 7 in F Major - Adagio - Allegro
00:04:34   N/A
Concerto No. 8 in A Minor - Allegro
00:03:12   N/A
Concerto No. 8 in A Minor - Larghetto e spiritoso
00:02:43   N/A
Concerto No. 8 in A Minor - Allegro
00:02:48   N/A
Concerto No. 9 in D Major - Allegro
00:02:03   N/A
Concerto No. 9 in D Major - Larghetto
00:02:32   N/A
Concerto No. 9 in D Major - Allegro
00:02:02   N/A
Concerto No. 10 in B Minor - Allegro
00:03:25   N/A
Concerto No. 10 in B Minor - Largo
00:01:56   N/A
Concerto No. 10 in B Minor - allegro
00:03:16   N/A
Concerto No. 11 in D Minor - Allegro - Adagio
00:04:00   N/A
Concerto No. 11 in D Minor - Largo e spiccato
00:02:19   N/A
Concerto No. 11 in D Minor - Allegro
00:02:18   N/A
Concerto No. 12 in E Major - Allegro
00:03:19   N/A
Concerto No. 12 in E Major - Largo
00:03:37   N/A
Concerto No. 12 in E Major - Allegro
00:02:58   N/A

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