Vivaldi's Concerto in A Minor

Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto in A minor, Op. 3, No. 6 is well known to all Suzuki violin students. Vivaldi (1678-1741) contributed to the development of the violin as a solo instrument, dazzling audiences throughout Europe with shocking new sounds. He wrote over 500 concertos. For many years Vivaldi also directed the female music ensemble at Ospedale della Pietàa school for orphaned girls in Venice.

Let’s compare two excellent but contrasting performances. The first is a modern performance by legendary Polish violinist Henryk Szeryng (1918-1988). The three short movements are Allegro, Largo and Presto (fast, slow, fast):

Now let’s hear a performance which attempts to capture the instruments and style of Vivaldi’s time. Baroque soloists often added ornamentation and improvisatory elements similar to the approach of a jazz musician today. This performance is by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra:

Do you prefer one of these recordings over another? It’s amazing that we can approach the same piece in so many different ways.

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One Response to Vivaldi's Concerto in A Minor

  1. Andrea Tolmich January 29, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    I have always loved this concerto as I was fortunate to perform with the Rockland County Youth Orchestra at that time led by Mary Canberg…she studied Baroque violin @ Julliard and I am partial to the Baroque version as that is what she exposed us to…I also attended Eastman…much before you :-)…..she also had us perform the Concerto for two violins in a minor with 8 violins on each part with piano accomp….

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