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Fanfare Magazine: 39:1 (09-10/2015) 
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Reviewer: Alan Swanson

Dmitry Sinkovsky first came to attention in these pages as a violinist, for which he received good reviews (Barry Brenesal, 32:6). He then appeared as a violinist and conductor and received good reviews (Robert Maxham, 37:2). Here, he appears as a violinist, conductor, and countertenor. Make no mistake, from the “Let me inveigle you” photograph on the cover to the self-serving “interview” which constitutes most of the information in the booklet, this album is about Dmitry Sinkovsky, who informs us that “Virtuosity is a gift given to you from above.” To support him in that virtuosity, he has formed his own early music band, La voce strumentale, which, in addition to seven strings, also uses two harpsichords, a lute, and a harp. To judge from his remarks about this unusual combination, Sinkovsky is less interested in authenticity itself than in the color possibilities offered by these instruments, and the disc opens with a very plucky “Spring.” Well, it’s one way to play Vivaldi, and the harp doesn’t hurt.

As a violinist, Sinkovsky is very good. He plays his own cadenzas, we learn, and they are fairly stylish. Though we are told what sort of instrument all the others are using, nothing is said about his own, but in an earlier review, Robert Maxham said it he played a 1675 Ruggeri, and I assume he still does. As a conductor, it seems to me that he has been judicious in his tempos: I appreciated it that he did not feel he had to race through these concertos. The orchestra plays well, and the contribution of the plucked instruments in “Winter” comes off as quite interesting. But for all the color Sinkovsky claims for it, there is a certain subdued blandness to it all. This is not aided by Sinkovsky’s violin, whose sound, despite hefty outbursts now and then, as in the opening of “Winter,” strikes me as generally thin and occasionally rather whiny.

As a countertenor, Sinkovsky has a perhaps surprising amount of competition and it is not clear to me why he has even bothered to enter that field. He is not at all an embarrassment, but neither is he more interesting than most in the Fach: It is a listenable voice without any especially attractive characteristics such as we can hear in Philippe Jaroussky, for example, with whom he is implicitly compared in the bio. On the whole, these vocal pieces add little to the recording, and the approximately 20 minutes they take up on this already short CD could well have been given over to several more of the ample number of Vivaldi’s violin concertos or, to show off his orchestra, some of the dozen string sinfoniae, perhaps.

As a calling card recording, this performance of The Four Seasons is certainly interesting, and I have enjoyed hearing it. It won’t, however, go to the top of my list, which is currently occupied by Janine Jansen (Decca).



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