While visiting FNAC in France, I picked up this re-issue of a 1992 recording of Vivaldi's Manchester Sonatas for solo violin and continuo. They feature some heavy-weight baroque performers today, seemingly in a younger form. I have to admit I didn't realize these sonatas were the so-called Manchester ones when I put the recording in my basket - it was only when getting home I realized this was now my second version of this set (having already owned the version featuring Andrew Manze with Romanesca). For one, Biondi presents the sonatas with a very close mike and dry acoustic. I like it, it presents the sounds of the instruments to be very distinct, close, and reveals their excellence in technique. By comparison, the Romanesca set is more live sounding. You might expect that the Biondi set to be a little more adventuresome than Romanesca. For one, he does employ a variety of different continuo. Yet, it's sometimes Manze with the feaster tempi, especially in the slower movements. And where Biondi might employ a faster tempo (on say a Corrente) among the twelve sonatas, it's Manze and company who end up sounding more exciting, more ebullient. In all, this is a good recording of the set of Vivaldi's sonatas that were discovered by Michael Talbott in the Manchester Library in England. Biondi's was the first comprehensive recording, and this (young) violin maestro shows us a little restraint compared to his later recorded endeavors. The technique behind all players is superb, but the reading is less "romantic" (perhaps the word is more academic?) than the recording just months later released by the English trio Romanesca. You may not need two copies, but with either one, you'll enjoy a different flavor of Vivaldi than is typical.