Zefiro performs wind concertos by Antonio Vivaldi, (p) 2000 Naive-Auvidis. I first reviewed this recording in September, 2003. Back then, I had this to say:
The whole CD package is attractive (as many Naive recordings have been lately), but more so is the quality of wind playing. That’s the focus of the ensemble, but it carries here authentically on record. From RV 538 for two horns (expertly recorded in a perfect acoustic) to the brisk rendition of RV 535 a few tracks earlier, for two oboes. For big Vivaldi fans, some works are old hat favorites, still others are probably new. The recording of the concerto for two trumpets is superb. It’s not the best of Vivaldi’s concertos, but thankfully the ensemble took a nice tempo that sets it going and engages the listener. The ultimate movement really sets the strings a flutter, and as they now say, “That’s all good.” Indeed, lots to enjoy from both the winds and strings. The ultimate movement for RV 545, featuring oboe and bassoon is no less enjoyable. We are treated here to the Grazzi brothers, who once played with Il Giardino Armonico, in their excellent Vivaldi series. There is much here to enjoy. This CD isn't as rustic or wild as say one we might expect from a Biondi, or dramatic as an Alessandrini, but oboist and director Bernardini plays his Vivaldi with a fair amount of zest (honesty), a little restraint (historical authenticity), and does so on a record with clean recorded sound. I really like their reading of the C-Major double trumpet concertos. The tempos are ideal, as is the trumpet tone and sound. Their take on other concertos is welcome to, playing with small numbers on each part. It sounds like chamber concertos, and they're done well. The concerto in D minor (in four movements) simply screams speed (track 14). I believe this may be one of those oboe works that Vivaldi may not have composed, but were instead were a Frenchman's try at playing Vivaldi. Either way, the work is good, and the cooking tempo is a welcome departure from what I typically hear. Another favorite is Zefiro's attempt at a brassy affair in the Double horn concerto (in F). Like the trumpet concerto, the brass sounds fantastic. I can't say the same for the artistry in Vivaldi's writing for this ensemble, but the horns are allowed just to be a little brassy. And I like that. "Zesty restraint," and nice control of the brass sound. Warmly recommended.