Guido: The Four Seasons


Catalogue No: DDA 25072
EAN/UPC: 809730507229
Release Date: January 2013
Genres: ,
Discs: 1
Total Playing Time: 66:05

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is perhaps the “classical” work best known to the general public; until very recently this work by Giovanni Antonio Guido was almost forgotten. It is a splendid work and some scholars now think it was the first to be written and may well have been known by Vivaldi and inspired him to write his own version. In any case, this is a superb baroque work and beautifully performed by The Band of Instruments under their director Roger Hamilton.

Track Listing

    Giovanni Guido:

  1. I. The Four Seasons − Spring (14:02)
  2. II. The Four Seasons − Summer (19:30)
  3. III. The Four Seasons − Autumn (18:00)
  4. IV. The Four Seasons − Winter (14:32)


The Consort

This is a very fine performance of an attractive composition which is potentially of great significance. Guido’s composition compares very well with Vivaldi’s in quality: it is varied, attractive, graceful and colourful. The fascinating background history is outlined in the informative CD flier. Divine Art is to be commended for bringing to us this little-known music, which is both historically important and beautiful.

” —Elizabeth Rees

Four picturesque concertos for string ensemble… some of them are very striking. They’re a whole lot of fun, and the extremely talented players who make up The Band of Instruments are a pleasure to hear. Very skilfully played set of fun, vivacious, diverting baroque suites.

” —Brian Reinhart
International Record Review

Resemblances to Vivaldi … are never embarrassingly close: I was reminded more of Rameau. Soloist Caroline Balding is superb, her backing Band of Instruments under director Roger Hamilton wholly admirable… I foresee much enjoyment.

” —Michael Round

The movements are like miniature tableaux, in which one element blends smoothly with the next. This is the anti-Vivaldi, a sort of characteristic work that focuses upon the drama rather than the soloist. Director Roger Hamilton runs a tight ship, with good contrasting tempos, nice phrasing and an ensemble that is very much in tune. Their performance is well executed and I can find no fault with it… a first-rate performance of works that really do deserve to be more popular.

” —Bertil van Boer

Here is a beautiful work, vigorously played by ‘The Band of Instruments’, a group based in Oxford that accompanies Caroline Balding who shows herself to be a great violin virtuoso. Giovanni Antonio Guido’s ‘Four Seasons’ might not show the musical richness of Vivaldi’s work, but this is nevertheless music extremely pleasant to listen to, in a fresh and sharp reading by The Band of Instruments.

” —Remy Franck
American Record Guide

Guido’s seasons are French Suites with many movements, not Italian violin concertos. The performances by The Band of Instru­ments are completely engaging. They have mastery of all the effects Guido comes up with (chirping birds, marching warriors, laughing Bacchantes, and crashing storms among them) and they play with energy, imagination, char­acter, and poetry. The recording is a real find and a grand evening’s divertissement. The musicians of The Band of Instruments prove themselves extremely fine advocates of this inventive music.

” —Catherine Moore
The Classical Reviewer

[Guido] certainly knew how to write attractive music, full of invention and lovely sonorities. If anyone is tired of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and I suspect many will be, then this new disc provides a refreshing alternative with thrilling playing. The recording made in New College, Oxford, is first rate.

” —Bruce Reader

Guido’s concertos place less emphasis on the melodic element as compared to Vivaldi and differ fundamentally in form. The Band of Instruments conducted by Roger Hamilton plays the spring time coming to an end in a cheerful and swinging way. The dominating violin solo sounds fascinating and is accompanied by the ensemble with detailed nuances. Trembling due to winter’s cold is realized by the six instrumentalists in an outstanding manner. The sophisticated and virtuous figures … are reproduced very precisely. Overall we experience a balanced interpretation, which does not strive for big sound, but prefers the search for small details.

” —Marina Brunner
The Strad

It is refreshing to hear another composer’s take on [The Four Seasons]. A bright, clearly defined texture… [the ensemble] bring commendable agility, shape and energy to their performances… demonstrating close empathy with the music’s rhetorical language.

” —Robin Stowell