Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas CDs: Antonio Vivaldi: Six Sonatas for Cello, Ashima Scripp (cello) and Eleanor Perrone (piano)

As winter grabs hold, few things can be more warming than the beautiful music of Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741).  Though often remembered solely for his delicious The Four Seasons, the Venetian-born composer was also responsible for works of great subtlety and charm. 

Vivaldi’s genius was marked in his ability to create instrumental works that fully exploit the range and richness of individual musical instruments.  Cases in point are Vivaldi’s masterful sonatas for cello, which bring the velvety resonance of this instrument to the forefront.  Vivaldi wrote a set of six sonatas for cello between 1720 and 1730, which were later published in Paris by Leclerc and Boivin.  They did not originally have an opus number, but many have grouped them together as op. 14.

These works have been brought to life in an indispensable new album, Antonio Vivaldi: Six Sonatas for Cello, with Ashima Scripp on the cello and Eleanor Perrone on the piano.  It ranks as our favorite classic music recording of the year, and is essential listening for fans of Vivaldi or cello music.

Cellist Scripp has previously appeared at Carnegie Hall, Tokyo’s Opera City and Boston’s Symphony Hall, among other world-class music venues.  Scripp was invited to join the critically-acclaimed Walden Chamber Players in 2014, and now serves as its artistic director.  She has crafted many of the ensemble’s successful chamber music residency programs, and Scripp remains dedicated to the mission of musical education.

Pianist Perrone has performed concerto engagements with the Boston Pops, Orquestra Sinfonica de Campinas, Billings Symphony, Merrimack Valley Symphony Orchestra and with the Brookline Symphony, where she played the Boston premiere of the Vaughan Williams Piano Concerto.  Perrone is currently on the piano faculty of the Rivers School Conservatory, Weston MA, and maintains a private studio in Watertown, MA.

Both players are evenly matched.  Scripp’s musicianship is masterful, and her control of the cello profound.  In her interpretation of Vivaldi, Scripp creates a tapestry of sound, warm and vital and across a dazzling musical range.  It is a terrific performance – sure, technically perfect and deeply emotional.  Perrone plays with energy and verve, and her technique combines charm and a lilting grace.

The music is alternately wistful, melancholy, joyful and upbeat.  Scripp and Perrone wrest the most and the best from the material, and it left this listener enthralled.  We can only hope for future collaborations.

Holiday shoppers – and music lovers – are encouraged to get a copy.  It can be ordered here: and is highly recommended.

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