Vivaldi’s Oboe Concerto in A Minor, RV 461: Alfredo Bernardini and Bremer Barockorchester

In addition to being a prolific composer, Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) was a virtuoso violinist, teacher, opera impresario, and musical innovator. Based primarily in Venice, Vivaldi was renowned throughout Europe. His music influenced J.S. Bach. In his final years, Vivaldi moved to Vienna with the intention of gaining employment at the court of Emperor Charles VI. Soon after, the Emperor died. Vivaldi was left without a source of income; he died in poverty. His music fell into obscurity until the early twentieth century, when it enjoyed a spectacular revival.

Most of Vivaldi’s over 500 concerti grew out of his thirty-year association with the prestigious, all-female music school of the Venetian orphanage, Ospedale della Pietà. While boys at the orphanage were trained as artisans, girls received training in string and wind instruments. These extraordinary students first performed many of the Vivaldi instrumental works we enjoy today.

Among Vivaldi’s 20 concerti for oboe is the Concerto in A minor, RV 461. In the first movement (Allegro non molto), we hear the back-and-forth dialogue of the ensemble’s ritornello (a recurring tutti statement) and the oboe’s freely adventurous virtuosity. The second movement (Larghetto) moves into major and unfolds as a beautiful, pastoral aria. The concluding Allegro brings the Concerto to a sunny, vibrant conclusion.

This performance, featuring oboist Alfredo Bernardini with the Bremer Barockorchester, was recorded on October 2, 2020 at the Church of Our Lady in the North German city of Bremen:

Featured Image: “The Entrance to the Grand Canal” (c. 1730), Canaletto 

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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