Vivaldi augmented his reputation as ‘The Red Priest’ with ‘L'Estro Armonico’, Op. 3, a collection of twelve concertos for one, two and four violins. The title of the collection encapsulates the qualities that so entranced Vivaldi’s contemporaries. ‘L’Estro Armonico’, which might be translated as ‘musical rapture’, reflects the vitality and freshness of Vivaldi’s invention: its rhythmic energy, melodic and harmonic intensity, textural sensuousness, performative brilliance and dramatic flair.
“These pieces are truly exhilarating to play and perform and their fresh impact never fails to hit some target or other, judging by the reaction of a live audience. Not often do you witness four violins trying to outdo each other! During Brecon Baroque's concerts preceding the recording, the rapier-like turns in musical conversations between the four parts always seemed to lead to added expectation and excitement – all the more effective because of the contrasted moments of deep melancholy which Vivaldi somehow manages to express irrespective of mode” (Rachel Podger) The dynamic ensemble Brecon Baroque was founded in 2007 by violinist and director Rachel Podger as resident ensemble at her annual Brecon Baroque Festival. The international line-up consists of some of some of the leading lights in the period instrument world. Brecon Baroque specialises in the music of J.S. Bach and his contemporaries, mostly as a one-to-a-part ensemble based on the Cafe Zimmerman ensemble which Bach himself directed. They also appear as a small baroque orchestra for Vivaldi, Telemann, Purcell and Handel.