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The precise nature of the instrument Vivaldi called ‘flautino’ has long been a matter of speculation and debate. He wrote three concertos for ‘flautino’, one of which, RV443, is included in Lucie Horsch’s attractive programme. While ‘flautino’ is now generally accepted as being a sopranino recorder this concerto, if we follow Vivaldi’s code of practice for transposition it can legitimately be played on a descant recorder. This option is preferred here and it comes offwell.

The musical focal point of the disc is without question the Concerto in C minor (RV441) for treble recorder and strings. It is Vivaldi’s best sustained work for recorder, profoundly expressive, complex and generously proportioned. Indeed, it sits comfortably alongside his finest pieces in the concerto medium. Horsch plays with expressive sensibility and impressive technical fluency. Her choice of tempos is judicious and the rapport of her ensemble a constant delight.

Two further concertos, ‘La tempesta di mare’ (RV433) and ‘La notte’ (RV439) belong to a set of six concertos for transverse flute most of which are re-workings of chamber concertos. Since the traverso was indicated in both early and reworked versions of these two pieces the choice is odd, though the performances are atmospheric as Vivaldi doubtless intended. Transcriptions and arrangements make up the remainder of the disc.

Nicholas Anderson Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2017 - ©Rhinegold Publishing