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Anne Akiko Meyers is WCRB - Boston 'CD Of the Week'

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Two years ago, Anne Akiko Meyers released Air, a celebration of music by Johann Sebastian Bach. Now, for her latest recording, she's turned to one of the composers Bach most admired, Antonio Vivaldi. There is no question that the music most associated with Vivaldi is the collection of concertos the composer called The Four Seasons. 

Anne Akiko Meyers Vivaldi CD coverInspired by what we all experience through the course of the year, and accompanied by sonnets most likely penned by Vivaldi himself, The Four Seasons offers violinists and audiences alike a rich textural and emotional experience. When performed by a virtuoso, and on one of the most exquisite examples of the golden age of Italian musical instrument craftsmanship, that experience attains new heights.

In her earlier recording of music by Bach, Meyers took advantage of two other examples of that crafstmanship. Using the "ex-Molitor/Napoleon" and "Royal Spanish" Stradivarius violins, she recorded both solo parts of Bach's Double Concerto to highlight the special qualities of those remarkable instruments. For her new Vivaldi release, Meyers once again explores a variety of sonic possibilities by performing multiple solo parts. But this time, in Vivaldi's Concerto in F for Three Violins, that variety all speaks through a single instrument: the "Vieuxtemps" violin made in 1741 - the year of Vivaldi's death - by Guarneri del Gesù.

There is one departure from Vivaldi's music in this new recording. Like the best juxtapositions of the ancient and the modern, the inclusion of the Passacaglia by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt illuminates otherwise hidden qualities within both that piece and within Vivaldi's music. It's a connection across centuries that reminds of the common experience felt both by our own ears and Vivaldi's audiences upon hearing this music.