" ...An excellent recording of some of Vivaldi’s earliest works. Far from being immature works, these sonatas take on a new dimension in this performance. Highly recommended."
Music Web - August 2002
"Two CDs of Vivaldi violin sonatas might seem a little daunting. It’s a mark of the standard of this set that Cordaria held my attention throughout more than 100 minutes. The violin playing is excellent - this may not be the most virtuosic music the composer ever wrote (he presumably hoped that lesser mortals would buy the print), but these are truly virtuoso performances. The fast movements bounce along, the slow ones have a certain poise about them, and the dances dance - it sounds a strange thing to say, but it’s so rarely the case! The continuo consists of harpsichord, theorbo (Lynda Sayce uses two different instruments) or baroque guitar, and cello. One sonata is without cello, and the plucked continuo only plays in Sonatas 8, 9 and 12. This recording is to be followed by Biber’s Mystery Sonatas and I for one cannot wait to hear that set! Buy this and find out why."
Early Music Review - June 2000
"These are delightful works from Italy’s greatest baroque master of composition for the violin. They are full of feeling and color, and tall they need is an interpreter worthy of them. Walter Reiter certainly ha Vivaldi’s style under his belt, and, while he isn’t the most technically polished or charismatic baroque violin soloist, he plays with real ardor and gusto. This is exemplary for showing what can be done with a baroque violin, some fine continuo players, and plenty of spunk."
American Record Guide - November/December 2000
"Vivaldi’s 40 or so violin sonatas have never been as popular in recordings as his concertos, and there seems no reason to suppose they ever will be. This recording of his complete Op.2 is one of only a handful currently in the catalogue, and, amazingly, it appears to be the first on period instruments - a strange situation in these baroque-hungry days. Coolness towards the sonatas is undoubtedly due in part to the fact that they are not as recognisably Vivaldian as the concertos. Op.2, in particular, showing a heavy debt to the elegant and balanced musical manner of Corelli. Certainly there are few hints of the mercurial invention of the Op.3 concertos that were to follow not long afterwards (Op.2 was published in 1709, Op.3 in 1711). Only in the odd fiery movement such as the Preludio a capriccio presto of Sonata No.2, or an occasional lyrically poised slow movement, such as the Adagio of Sonata No.3, do we seem to glimpse the hand of the Red Priest at work (tune-spotters may also enjoy an unmistakable foretaste of the ’Domine Deus’ from the Gloria in the Third sonata’s Preludio.) This is not to say that this music has no character of its own; while it may well be hard to guess Vivaldi as its composer, in the end it could not truly be mistaken for the work of Corelli either. And it is certainly well written and attractive.
Walter Reiter is a name familiar from numerous personnel lists of period orchestras, but less so as a chamber musician, and this is his first recording with his own group, Cordaria. He shows himself to be a stylish, no-nonsense player, who in slower movements mixes a clean often sweetly singing line with tasteful ornamentation which refuses to draw undue attention to itself, and who in faster ones shows real virtuosity and fire. Occasionally his intonation is a little uncomfortable, but this is generally compensated for by his overall musicality. His continuo colleagues provide fine support, Shalev Ad-El proving an inventive but sensitive harpsichord accompanist, and Katherine Sharman obviously enjoying the chance to partake in melodic dialogue when it comes her way. In short, these are intelligent but natural accounts of the unfairly neglected music, in which any points the players are out to make are about the music and not themselves."
Gramophone - Decmber 2000
"Until this very fine effort by violinist Walter Reiter and his colleagues, there was no good recent recording (that is, from the past 10-15 years) of these relatively early Vivaldi works for violin and continuo. As realized here, the continuo consists of harpsichord and cello with theorbo or Baroque guitar on three of the sonatas. Although Vivaldi’s music, especially at this stage (1709) had neither the high artistic distinction nor intellectual sophistication that characterizes even the lesser works of Bach, it maintains an extraordinary and consistently appealing nature, carried by melodies that always fall easily on the ear and by a propulsive, catchy rhythmic pulse. Unfortunately, it’s easy to make Vivaldi boring - and many performers oblige by being too casual and only scraping the surface or too serious and forcing the music into ill-fitting duds. Reiter has the right idea: he respectfully plays what’s there (no distracting show-off mannerisms) while fortifying his solo lines with brilliant, singing violin tone and effective yet refined dramatic touches. In other words, this is mature if not sensational playing that brings the music to life with interpretations that will hold up very well over time. Reiter benefits from able, congenial musical partners who properly understand their role in these pieces to be one of more or less equal partnership rather than mere accompaniment. Some listeners will appreciate the bright, somewhat glassy quality to the sound of the violin and harpsichord, while I would have preferred just a bit more warmth."
Artistic Quality - 8 Sound Quality 6
ClassicsToday.com - January 2001
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