Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) was born in Venice, Italy, where he spent most of his professional life until falling from grace from the powers that be at that time in that city; he was widely known there as the “Red Priest.” These days Vivaldi is mostly known to us as the composer of the much transited The Four Seasons, and by a very irreverent and misinformed comment by Leopold Stokowski: “..Vivaldi...a composer who wrote the same concerto 600 times over and over...” This comment was totally out of place and the proof of its falsehood is left to the many interpreters of Vivaldi′s music today. This SACD disc is one of the best to come around in a long time in my humble opinion and pretty much falls in artistry alongside that which is considered the reference recording by I Musici (1959) with Felix Ayo in the solo violin part, on Philips. (I own a pristine tape of this recording).

I should say that I reviewed a regular CD version of the same on June 2, 2008 here as well. My opinion of the artistry of this orchestra′s realization remains firm as I stated previously but now the sound provided by Tacet takes us into another realm in reference to high resolution sound. As a "tube only" SACD recorded with Neumann M49 and Microtech Gefell UM 92.1 S microphones (which are also tube) Tacet′s real surround sound allows us to become "good listeners" in general, and "expert" and "good at listening" in particular; this is the quickest way to become a believer. A believer that sound is an integral part of the music′s drama. Furthermore, many, including yours truly, believe that a good recorded performance becomes an excellent performance only when the sound provided on the disc by the producers is commensurate to the artistry of the playing.

At the risk of repeating myself it needs to be said that Vivaldi wrote the works recorded on this disc sometimes during the mid 1720s. The present realizations by this orchestra are modern transcriptions of those works stylized for modern instruments but still keeping a harpsichord to provide the basso continuo line. Upon listening these works in the present recording there is an spatial sensation that is enhanced by the location of the orchestra′s instruments (...).

That sensation is readily transformed into an emotional sensation by way of the expert manipulation of the stringed instruments′ physical acoustics, which coupled with the virtual hall acoustics make the music dance. That dance is produced by the rhythmic syncopation that is realized as a result of the location of the instruments around the listener. This is Tacet′s "moving surround sound" – the sound moves from one speaker to another to another – it′s no longer a flat up-front speaker sound with just plain hall acoustics in the rear speakers. The fundamental sounds and concomitant hall acoustics are everywhere around the listener. We have no choice but to listen and become good listeners. Moreover, I recommend that all four corner and the center speaker be full-range speakers to really savor the wonder of Tacet′s recorded sound via Vivaldi and this great orchestra. This is a reference recording that will test anybody′s high-res system without mercy. My highest recommendation for this SACD. [Only the stereo SACD and CD options are tube-only...Ed.]

John Nemaric

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