The twelve works, which have come to be known as the Manchester Sonatas, represent some of Vivaldi’s most admired works of chamber music at the end of the Baroque era.
The recordings are superb, and they move sometimes in unexpected and exciting ways. Knox’s harpsichord builds an elegant and large architecture for the arrangements, but his playing is alive, and there are moments when he seems to strike at the keys, elevating the bass and harmonics into a soundscape greater than what you expect from a single instrument. He goes from gentle stream to raging storm with utter control and elegance.
Fewer’s violin is the voice of the recordings, and his absolute precision makes space for a huge brightness and energy, balancing along beautifully with the landscape laid out by the Harpsichord.
But it is how they play together, and how both artists, masters, stretch their wings and make the music their own. That is where the arrangements become something that only these two could achieve.
The recordings come with beautifully laid out liner notes which go into tremendous detail as to how the pieces were played and arranged. In fact, the notes are a treasure all by themselves.
These recordings of such historical and musical interest will make lovers of classical music grin with delight. Fewer and Knox beautifully and brilliantly arrange Vivaldi’s lost masterpieces, making the 250 years worth the wait. And as the best music always does, will likely turn the ears of people who perhaps didn’t consider themselves fans of classical, and give them a glimpse of a world of art that had remained hidden, and was then brought back into the light.
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