Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos in G Minor: Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

The Concerto for Two Cellos in G minor, RV 531 is one of Antonio Vivaldi’s most intensely dramatic and convention-defying works.

Out of the composer’s nearly 500 surviving concerti (30 of which feature the cello), it is the only “double” concerto for the instrument. The first movement begins not with the standard tutti ritornello but with the two solo instruments taking center stage with a vigorous conversation in thirds. Immediately, we are swept into a haunting and tempestuous drama. Set in sombre G minor, this is music which inhabits a magical, veiled world of nocturnal shadows. The second movement is a melancholy duet. It is operatic yet ultimately rooted in the intimacy of the trio sonata. As the musicologist and Italian Baroque specialist Michael Talbot writes, the “frenetic finale, see-sawing in rhythm and tonality alike, keeps one on the edge of one’s seat.”

Vivaldi composed the Concerto for Two Cellos in Venice around 1720. During this time, the violinist and composer was teacher and music director at the Ospedale della Pietà, the legendary convent, orphanage and music school.

This 2002 recording features cellists Christina Mahler and Allen Whear with Jeanne Lamon and the Toronto-based Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra:

I. Allegro:

II. Largo:

III. Allegro:

Recordings

  • Vivaldi: Concerto for Two Cellos in G minor, RV 531, Christina Mahler, Allen Whear, Jeanne Lamon, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra Amazon

Featured Image: an architectural feature from Venice’s San Giovanni in Bragora, the church in which Antonio Vivaldi was baptized in 1678, Didier Descouens

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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