The latest release from the Vivaldi Project is volume 5 of the solo violin concertos, a collection for Pisendel, the Dresden-based violinist. Like the fourth release, this one is performed by Il Pomo d'Oro, but with soloist Dmitry Sinkovsky. I recognized him from his videos I had found on YouTube of Biber. Specifically, they have recorded: * RV 177, * RV 212a, * RV 246, * RV 370, * RV 242 (op. 8), * RV 379 (op. 12), * RV 328 The recorded sound emphasizes the sounds of the continuo, using a variety of plucked goodies in addition to organ. The recording uses a little bit of reverb in the mix, but it doesn't last very long. The booklet lists the Villa San Fermo as the recording location. It probably isn't my favorite sound when I hear the short reverb time in short notes from the violins, at some distance from the microphones, but it is also not bad. Sinkovsky is up front and close enough to capture detail, which is probably important in a recording that emphasizes virtuosic writing. It's believed that Vivaldi wrote all of these for Pisendel, who was somewhat of a virtuoso, not to mention a composer himself. Under Sinkovsky's direction, Tomato/Golden Palm reminds me of the bands Podger has directed; there's definitely some inventive dynamics and energy in the playing all around. Yet, no where at the extreme that Antonini took IGA with his Handel opus 6 concerti grossi, or the typical Europa Galante hijinks with Biondi. Which is a polite way of saying it's enough without going overboard. A good example for what I'm talking about is the opening movement of RV 212a in D. Tender moments can be found, with a lot of rollicking and energy (for a major-keyed concerto). The solos are busy enough to earn our interest, and isn't the typical Vivaldi simple themes set against some typical harmonic progressions. Sinkovsky emerges as a quite capable violinist, with a nice sounding instrument (I found it more agreeable actually with headphones) that's well-balanced among the registers, with a lot of speech in the upper-end (which, with baroque instruments, I have found is less-often the case). In some cases, when the low register calls, he can be lost a little in the mix, but often returns to the rescue. This RV212a movement offers a real cadenza opportunity, which Sinkovsky offers with a very consistent sound throughout. At 7 minutes+ for a Vivaldi fast movement, it has some legs, which is a direct result of a long unaccompanied solo. Sinkovsky gets slightly rustic in the third movement, punching out notes from the lower register with ripeness. Among my favorite Vivaldi concertos is the one from op. 8, no. 7. I've been quite tickled with the version found on YouTube by Onofri with the IGA in concert. Such comparisons point to Onofri being the more gifted and expressive violinist, not to mention Antonini the more gifted conductor. But what experience has lent them is no shame on Il Pomo d'Oro and Sinkovsky. They play perfectly well, offering us another delicious rendition. All the while, IGA alum Luca Pianca is plucking away in the background. Each time Sinkovsky reaches for the high notes, I kind of smile, knowing all the well, the clean, clear results are atypical and special. RV 379 in B-flat is another familiar concerto, a short, mostly happy affair. What the third movement reminds me, not to mention a lot of the slower movements from this recording, is Sinkovsky's refusal to slow down. I don't mean he won't play with the ensemble slowly (the middle movements are consistently at the accepted tempi). But where others may slow down in the faster numbers, during the end of a phrase, or during a virtuosic turn, Sinkovsky pushes hard right through things. It's all the more technically difficult to do so, I'm sure, but my interpretive itch to breathe a little bit from time to time, wouldn't likely hurt anything in the interpretation department. What remains are a collection of extremely well-wrought solo violin concertos. You're likely to know a few, and some may be new, as they were to me. Our soloist is younger than older, but that doesn't stop him confidently taking on each concerto with bravery and strong results. There's confidence on each track of this release, and my only minor quibble with the recording is the lack of perfection in the recorded sound. You often don't achieve that in non-studio settings, and what I lost in idealism I make up for in character. You'll like this one, I am confident.