I l prete rosso himself--the red-haired priest, as Vivaldi was known to his contemporaries--might well have blessed the Parley of Instruments for its performance at Beckman Auditorium on Saturday.
The Vivaldi program featured soloists Paul O'Dette, lute and mandolin, and Stanley Ritchie, Baroque violin, in a concert of familiar works in unfamiliar settings.
To those accustomed to hearing Vivaldi's concertos played by large orchestras, the two violins, viola, cello, violone (the double bass of the viol family) and chamber organ may have sounded anemic, yet that is the ensemble for which Vivaldi wrote. The result: a splendidly transparent texture that served as a perfect backdrop for the virtuosic musings of the two soloists.
O'Dette's contributions included two works for lute: a Trio in C with violin and continuo and the Concerto in D, well known to guitarists. His superb technique made both performances seem effortless. He appeared more comfortable with this instrument than with the Baroque mandolin, featured in a tentative reading of a Concerto in C.
Ritchie started the evening with the Concerto in D, Opus 3, No. 9, and returned in the second half with an appropriately chilly "Winter" and bucolic "Spring" from "The Four Seasons." With the exception of minor intonation problems, the playing was inspired.