Just when you think there’s nothing new to say about Vivaldi, along comes a recording which says something new about Vivaldi saying something new about Vivaldi. If that’s about as clear as a government health directive, stay with me. And know that behind the project is that veritable Shiva of early music, Italian conductor and harpsichordist Rinaldo Alessandrini.


The title of this recording, which is Volume 67 in Naïve’s Vivaldi Edition and the ninth in a series devoted to his concertos, is a hint. “Le nuove vie” – “New Ways” or “New Directions” – alludes to Vivaldi’s need to adapt to the new galant style emerging in the 1720s. “This was when Vivaldi sought to update his music in response to [the style’s] lighter texture (founded on the polarity of the melody and bass lines), harmonic simplification, periodic construction and melodic ornamentation,” writes Cesare Fertonani in a booklet note.

The ritornello form, the sudden harmonic shifts and dissonances, the love of Lombard rhythm and daring melodic leaps and extremes of...