Vivaldi's Four Seasons

July 22, 2005 at 01:18 AM · I got a cheap recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons somewhere, and the violinist is actaully out of tune (!!!!!!). If anyone could recommend a good recording, such as soloist's name, I sure would appreciate it. I got to hear a concert of Jamie Laredo playing it, and it was beatiful, but I'm not sure if he recorded it?.... Any help appreciated.

Replies (70)

July 22, 2005 at 01:57 AM · Try Kremer and the wonderful Kremerata Baltica. I like it a lot, and he also has the Seasons of Piazolla (a work inspired by Vivaldi) performed along side that of the Vivaldi.

July 22, 2005 at 03:06 AM · I think Fabio Biondi and his Europa Galante's recording is quite refreshing.

July 22, 2005 at 04:17 AM · Kremer is great.

Carmignola and Kennedy (the newer 2003 recording with BPO) are fantastic as well.

B

July 22, 2005 at 09:38 PM · I like the vhs with perlman zukerman mintz and stern

July 22, 2005 at 10:22 PM · Gil Shaham is terrific. Also, Naxos Historical has put out a new 2 CD set by Louis Kaufman purporting to be the first recording. It is good, and the set includes a bunch of other Vivaldi concerti.

July 23, 2005 at 03:42 PM · Ricardo Muti's CD is excellent. It's my personal favorite.

July 23, 2005 at 04:12 PM · The version by Janine Jansen sounds very interesting. Or at least the bits I've heard of it do as I haven't bought it yet. It's on my Amazon wish list (along with a zillion dollars worth of other stuff). :)

Neil

July 23, 2005 at 08:26 PM · I like Gil Shaham's recording.

July 24, 2005 at 04:23 PM · I second the Naxos Historical 2 CD set by Louis Kaufman. Also Stern.

July 24, 2005 at 08:29 PM · Wow. Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone! I will definately look them up!

July 25, 2005 at 12:04 AM · I have also heard bits and pieces of Janine Jansen's recording, namely summer 3rd mvt. and winter 1st mvt. and I have to say that it isn't too well presented stylistically. It was just all about speed and ripping the pieces apart with forceful bow movements and, yeah, speed.

I second my opinion on Fabio Biondi's as well - he's like the Kennedy of Barquoe violin. Very rehreshing indeed. Kennedy's 2003 version is also good and very unique. Andrew Manze, dubbed the great Baroque violinst alive, didn't score so well here with the Amsterdam Baroque. It was too carefully played, with not much colours and experimentations but no doubt, some people would like it.

July 25, 2005 at 03:59 AM · STERN!!! STERN!!! STERN!!!

August 6, 2005 at 02:54 AM · kyung wha chung did a recent set with the orchestra of st.luke's. the recording quality is top notch and so is the playing.

August 6, 2005 at 05:54 PM · I've always been partial to listening to the people who've been hearing it for generations -- for example, if you want great Brahms, listen to Vienna Phil. For Vivaldi, the recording with Carlo Chiarappa and I Solisti Veneti is amazing. Great interpretation and depiction of the text, especially in Summer, while still playing in a modern style.

Also, on original instruments, there's Il Giardino Armonico with Enrico Onofri. On this recording the violinist does play out of tune -- on purpose(!), in the drunk part of the first movement of Autumn.

August 6, 2005 at 09:46 PM · I second the kyung wha chung recording, it's a sure buy.

I also picked up the Joseph Silverstein recording, and it really is pretty good. His tone is light and crisp and always has this refreshing aspect to it. With Ozawa providing a solid accompianiment, it's definitely worth checking out.

August 10, 2005 at 01:36 AM · YES! Kyung Wha Chungs' recording of "The Four Seasons" is great. She's very lierical and expressive. The St. Luke's Ensemble is a wonderful filter of musicians. I recommend it as well.

August 10, 2005 at 05:11 PM · I have a bunch of the four seasons in my collection. If you like something new or special can get Kremer and Nigel Kennedy. But according to my teacher, he said if Heifetz were to hear both of them play, he probably would hire asassins to kill them. I would recommend Stern and Szeryng. Though the Szeryng is outta print I suppose. Actually if you like Baroque, I think theres The English Concert with Trevor Pinnock (box set) which Im quite fond of.

August 11, 2005 at 08:00 PM · I recommend you go to Amazon and check out excerpts from Giuliano Carmignola's version with the Venice Baroque Orchestra conducted by Andrea Marcon. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but a lot of people will like it.

August 19, 2005 at 03:14 PM · Nadja Salerno has a great recording. I got it for my birthday one year, and practically ever since, I have listened to it before going to sleep. It seems to be at a very good tempo too. It helped me a lot when I learned Spring.

August 19, 2005 at 10:59 PM · Stern did one, Mike? Hmmm... (I found out he died in 2001 just a week or two ago...was I sleeping?)

November 11, 2005 at 11:23 PM ·

November 12, 2005 at 02:47 AM · Fabio Biondi with Europa Galante. Hilarious and totally awesome.

November 12, 2005 at 05:54 AM · The most lyrical version I've come across is an old recording conducted by Guilini played by the concertmaster of the Philharmonia whose name I can't recall at the moment (I believe it was of Armenian derivation). Just perfect.

November 13, 2005 at 01:00 AM · Well, this may be the perfect time to ask a question that has bugged me for a few years now. Just over a decade ago, a friend had let me borrow his CD of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. At the time, I also had a cheap recording of it and it left a lot to be desired. The recording he had was absolutely riveting. For years I had beleived it to be on the TELARC label, but I now believe I was in error. The cover was white, with four abstract (almost overly simplistic) paintings of the four seasons arragned in a quadrant system. I know this sounds like almost any other four seasons CD, but the paintings in these (if memory serves me) were very simple swirly lines.

Anyway, if anyone can identify this CD, I believe it to be the most incredible performance of this beautiful piece of music I have ever heard.

If anyone is also partial to jazz, the Jacques Loussier trio also released an interesting jazz rendition of the four seasons on the TELARC label (CD-83417). Don't get this for violins - it's performed with a piano, bass, and drums.

November 14, 2005 at 05:11 AM · Found the CD I was speaking of above. I got in touch with the person I had borrowed the CD from about 15 years ago and found it. It is on the TELARC label, but they changed the cover. It's CD-80070. Performers are listed as: Seiji Ozawa (conductor), Boston Symphony, and Joseph Silverstein.

Not having heard many of the ones mentioned by other people in this thread, I can't speak to those CDs, but I do think this is an exceptional rendition of the Four Seasons.

November 14, 2005 at 03:04 AM · I have a version by Nigel Kennedy and one by Gil Shaham. The Nigel Kennedy is very good, unless you are a purist. Most people have heard the Four Seasons, so often, it is not interesting unless you add a bit of spice to the score.

November 14, 2005 at 04:13 AM · Greetings,

INMHO I have never found the above point to be true. It is great music and eithe rplayed well or not. Following the argument through to its logical conclusion I am having a punk band explode through a trapdoor in the stage directly after i finsih the last note of the cadenza in the Beethoven violin concerto. Although come to think of it, Kremer came pretty close to that in the cadenza of his recording....

Cheers,

Buri

November 17, 2005 at 05:57 AM · Another one to consider is Alan Loveday with the ASMF and Sir Neville Marriner on Decca Legends. Lovely tone, speed, characterisation and a fine recording sound to boot!

November 17, 2005 at 05:15 PM · Here's another vote for Nigel Kennedy's.

If you want something REALLY different you should try looking up Red Priest. They do a quartet version with violin, cello, harpsichord, and recorder. It's not your standard 4 Seasons, but the playing is phenomenal.

November 17, 2005 at 08:55 PM · and here's yet another vote for nigel kennedy's four seasons!

i think i actually blurted out 'holy crap' when i first heard it.

November 17, 2005 at 10:28 PM · I really like Gil Shaham with Orpheus chamber orchestra. I don't like Yehudi Menuhin.

I have heard about Red Priest, but I have never heard them. It sounds really fun!

November 21, 2005 at 01:27 PM · NO one has put in a vote for one of my favorite recordings: Jaap Schroeder (before he went period instrument) on Quintessence. He was concertmaster of the Concertgebouw. His playing, and the accompaniment, are a breath of fresh air in a field crowded with recordings trying to make a point. Straightforward, beautifully played, very musical.

It's the version I return to the most, even though it's pretty old (but stereo!).

March 10, 2007 at 07:36 PM · There is a complete set of videos of Nigel Kennedy performing the Four Seasons on YouTube. The sound quality is excellent and the video superb. So by the way is Mr. Kennedy's fiddling.

March 10, 2007 at 08:42 PM · Joseph silverstein and the Boston Symphony. Best recording ever... ull be impressed

March 10, 2007 at 10:00 PM · Here's some interesting info with free downloads!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Seasons_(Vivaldi)

Peter

March 12, 2007 at 05:49 PM · Hello, Carley.

Although I expect some negative, critical responses to my recommendation, I recently purchased Anne-Sophie Mutter's "Four Seasons" and like it very much. As a bonus, by the way, Mutter's CD includes her performing Giuseppe Tartini's, "The Devil's Trill."

(You can hear samples from the CD on Amazon.com.)

Jason Verlinde's review of Mutter's CD is as follows: "We've grown so accustomed to seeing violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter gracing album covers in her flowing formal gowns that this recording of Vivaldi's masterpiece may come as a shock to her fans, at least at first glance. Mutter, it appears, has been influenced by Gap culture, looking relaxed and appearing in jeans on the album cover. To coincide with this release, she even released a music video, featuring the Trondheim Soloists and herself performing the glorious work and looking like they're having a blast. Is this the shape of classical music to come? Let's hope so. Mutter's performance here, as usual, is top-notch. The opening movements of Spring sound delightful, the Summer storm sounds frenzied, and during Winter's second movement, you can practically hear the chill being warded off by a fire. Her impeccable tone is, as usual, gorgeous and the conductorless Trondheims provide a fine, if slightly obscured, accompaniment. Filling out this disc is Tartini's Sonata in G Minor (better known as The Devil's Trill), a wonderful piece of baroque violin virtuosity. There have never been so many recordings of Four Seasons available as right now; there really is no definitive version anymore. This one, however, is easy to recommend."

My recommendation, of course, is based on my personal opinion and tastes, and you may not like Mutter's version.

I hope that this message is of some help.

Thank you.

Cordially,

David

March 12, 2007 at 08:25 PM · I don't care for Jansen's recording at all. Wasn't it recorded with a bunch of her family members or something? Not that this in itself implies poor quality, but I just didn't like it, and the acoustical balance seemed quite strange.

I'll echo David's sentiments; I am generally not a huge fan of ASM, but I heard her "Four Seasons" on the radio and was blown away. Worth a listen...

Karin (who gets to hear Joshua Bell play it this weekend! He hasn't recorded it, though)

March 12, 2007 at 08:59 PM · I heard Jansen's recording on the radio and thought it was great for the energy in it, but I didn't pay a lot of attention or hear all of it. I was gone mobile at the time. I'm a huge fan of ASM since I hear her Beethoven on the radio. It was like utter and total sculpting of the air...or something. I'd never purchase either though, even though it's some of my favorite stuff. I'd probably buy them if they were Buena Vista Social Club.

March 13, 2007 at 02:46 AM · You should get a recording of Itzhak Perlman play. He is good. But don't rely on the recordings intonation it is almost always bad because of the "Digitally Mastered" I've encountered the same problem with many CD's.

March 13, 2007 at 06:17 AM · gil shaham has a pretty cool one

March 13, 2007 at 11:48 AM · A very good recording which hasn't been mentioned is Simon Standage with Trevor Pinnock.

Very straight, almost neutral, but still really good.

My personal favorite is Janine Jansen's, though.

March 13, 2007 at 12:37 PM · Gil Shaham's is awesome and a great value. The recording we have has all for seasons, the Kreisler concerto in C, and a video of Shaham playing the first movement of winter!

December 22, 2007 at 04:45 AM · I think the Simon Standage recording with Trevor Pinnock is in a class by itself. Incredibly soulful and intense interpretation; fitting for such passionate music.

December 22, 2007 at 05:13 AM · Victoria Mullova

December 22, 2007 at 09:47 PM · Anne Sophie Mutter: All time best. = )

December 22, 2007 at 10:40 PM · The new Sarah Chang with Orpheus Chamber Orcehstra Four Seasons album is a great triumph acoustically. It is very well balanced and the recording quality is superb. And her interpretation is very new and fresh.

I second the Mutter. You can watch performances of the Four Seasons on Youtube:

Mutter

Chung

Chang

Kremer

Perlman/Mintz/Zukerman/Stern

Just search for them.

December 23, 2007 at 03:00 PM · As usual when these questions are asked, we have at least one vote for every major recording. Perhaps these questions should be worded: "Among the recordings of _______, are there any I should absolutely avoid?"

December 24, 2007 at 08:37 PM · I also like Mutter's four seasons immensely, but I can't say I've listened to many others recently.

January 3, 2008 at 10:11 AM · Mr. Wittert,

I suppose you mean Manoug Parikian, former leader of the Philharmonia. He originated from Cyprus. Excellent Mozart player.

Cheers,

Ronald

January 3, 2008 at 12:38 PM · Mutter (w/Trondheim Soloists) and Viktoria Mullova are 2 favorite recordings of mine for the Vivaldi 4 seasons.

January 3, 2008 at 03:05 PM · I'm still looking for a version that uses organ instead of harpsichord for the continuo. Any help?

January 4, 2008 at 12:59 AM · Guiliano Carmignola!!!!!! And Julia Fischer!!!! If you haven't heard these 2 violinists you're missing out

January 4, 2008 at 01:17 AM · Itzhak Perlman!!!! He won an Emmy?(right?) for his interpertation of the peice(s)!!!!

January 4, 2008 at 03:58 AM · Greetings,

Ronald, I wa s lucky enough to hear Mr. Parikien in his prime paying the Beethoven concerto. It is one of my most treasured musical experiences. I seem to recall he was a keen correspondent with Joseph Szigeti. They played a kind of game to see who could invent the most unusual fingerings for tricky passage s in the repertoire.

Cheers,

Buri

January 4, 2008 at 12:09 PM · Back in 2005, Nick Wong wrote this:

"I think Fabio Biondi and his Europa Galante's recording is quite refreshing."

Having finally obtained a copy of that CD, I'd have to agree whole-heartedly. The performance is wonderfully lively combined with lovely sensitivity in the slow movements. It's easily my favourite of the versions I have (Perleman, Jansen, Kennedy, and someone else who I'm too lazy to go downstairs and find out who).

On DVD, I adore Julia Fischer's performance. Sublime.

Neil

April 1, 2009 at 12:29 AM ·

Hello Everyone,

 

Not to beat a dead horse, but..... I want to add Vivaldi's 4 seasons to my music collection but there are so many versions out there that I was wondering if someone could explain to me the different interpretations artists have done.  What makes Sarah Chang, Janine Jansen, ASM, Joshua Bell or any of the others different from each other?  Which ones are more authentic?  Thanks!

April 1, 2009 at 12:49 AM ·

I absolutely adore Jansen's recording of the Four Seasons...very individualistic.  I also think that Sarah chang's recording is probably her most "mature" album to date.  It stays very close to the original manuscript with some ornamentation here and there, and production wise, I think it has the best quality audio and balance between orchestra and soloist.  The engineers over at EMI truely did a magnificent job on it.

If you want to do a little more in depth research on the four seasons, youtube it!  youtube has so many extremely fabulous recordings uploaded (probably unknown to the record labels)!  ASM's version is on there in complete, Kyung-wha Chung's, Clips of Sarah Chang, Janine Jansen, Itzhak Perlman, Julia Fischer, and more!  I would do this first before going to the store and buying a recording.

April 1, 2009 at 04:43 AM ·

 This might sound trite but I really love Joshua Bell's version of Vivaldi. 

April 1, 2009 at 02:52 PM ·

I have asked this before, but am still looking. What I grew up with is what I want: a version that uses organ continuo rather than harpsichord. It really adds a wonderful, dolorous feeling. Looking at CDs for sale online doesn't reveal which ones, if any, use organ (exclusively).

 

 

 

 

April 1, 2009 at 02:58 PM ·

Definitely Joshua Bell's CD.  I love the fold out poster in it!

 

SCOTT- Have you heard the Four Seasons done by a group out of Brazil where they use traditional instruments? Gorgeous!  I can't think of this one instrument they use but it's amazing!!!!!!

April 1, 2009 at 03:28 PM ·

Haven't heard that. Do you mean traditional Brazilian instruments???  :-)

 

April 1, 2009 at 04:13 PM ·

Kind of on another track to this question, but is anyone besides me getting a little tired of all the recordings of the Four Seasons that keep coming out?  Don't get me wrong...the music itself is great, but I feel that the recording industry is really redundant these days.  It seems like every week there is another recording of the Four Seasons.  I know it's popular and it must sell well, but to be honest I'm bored.  Its like..."hmmm....we had better put out a cd this week...what should we do....I know...the Four Seasons."  Then artists try to "jazz" it up or something. Maybe add some mood enhancing nature sounds.  Let's pair the music with our favorite Italian recipes in the CD cover.  How about the Four Seasons complete with a free sample of Glade air freshener....one scent for each season.  Maybe its just me but the Four Seasons ad nauseum gets a little tiring.

April 1, 2009 at 04:30 PM ·

The way I manage to avoid this, Thomas, is by not listening to them.

 

April 1, 2009 at 05:20 PM ·

Traditional Brazilian Instruments!

I wonder how many times Vivaldi's Four Seasons have been recorded?  True it seems, that just about everyone and his/her dog has recorded The Four Seasons. (Sounds like a back up band!)

April 1, 2009 at 05:24 PM ·

I don't listen to all those recordings.   At least not most of them.  As I said, I think the music is great.  I love to play them and enjoy listening to them. I have at least three different recordings in my library.  I don't think I will ever need another recording of them....certainly not one arranged for solo violin, dog whistle, and an orchestra of mooing cows or whatever the next variant will be.   What annoys me is the amount of recordings that are out there and the amount  which seem to be made each week.   I don't see six recordings of the Saint Saens' concertos in as many months.  I haven't seen the Dvorak concerto recording 9 times in one year.  I just feel that the Four Seasons are done to the point of overkill.  Maybe its a rite of passage or something.  Maybe I am the only one who has noticed this Four Season frenzy.  Maybe people like a rehash of the same thing over and over.  Anything is possible.

April 1, 2009 at 06:10 PM ·

surprised no one has mentioned david nadien...

 

I think it's cd 125, paired with the mozart divertimento in Eb

October 25, 2016 at 04:46 PM · Scott Hawthorne, I just joined and saw your old question about a recording with organ instead of harpsichord - have you found one yet? Not sure if it's what you want, but the circa 1990 recording by I Musici on Philips/Decca DVD features a small organ along with the strings, which I very much like. The pantomimed performance of the studio recording was filmed at various outdoor locations in Venice. A DVD/CD combo package is available (CD is bonus tracks, not Four Seasons). Decca 074 3213 for the combo.

October 25, 2016 at 06:17 PM · I'm not much of a Joshua Bell fan, but his recording of the Four Seasons from several years ago was pretty good.

Fabio Biondi's is fun too.

October 25, 2016 at 06:28 PM · Nobody fan from the one with the freiburger Barockorchester? Quite nice, and has the sonnets read at the end of the CD.

I also think you have to ask the question whether you want an historically inspired version, or a modern version

October 25, 2016 at 07:08 PM · I know this is a very old thread, but I would like to add one more recommendation to I Musici's Four Seasons. I grew up listening to their recordings, and there are several versions. What I like best is their recording with Felix Ayo as the soloist.

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