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. …

Read more

Vivaldi’s Trio Sonata No. 12 in D Minor, RV 63: Variations on “La Follia”

Antonio Vivaldi’s Twelve Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, published in 1705, conclude with a dazzling display of musical fireworks. The Sonata No. 12 in D minor, RV 63 unfolds in a single movement made up of twenty variations on La Follia. This theme, first recorded in Francisco de Salinas’ 1577 treatise, De musica libri septem, originated in Portuguese dance music. It was used by numerous composers throughout the Baroque period, including Jean-Baptiste Lully, Domenico Scarlatti, Purcell, …

Read more

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 …

Read more

Remembering Jeanne Lamon

Jeanne Lamon, the American-Canadian violinist and early music specialist, passed away on June 20 following a brief battle with cancer. She was 71. Lamon was music director of the Toronto-based Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra from 1981 to 2014. In a recent statement, the ensemble credits Lamon with establishing Tafelmusik’s “enviable reputation as ‘one of the world’s top baroque orchestras’ (Gramophone), growing from its modest beginnings to the cutting-edge period ensemble it is today under …

Read more

Vivaldi and Piazzolla: Two Visions of Summer

Antonio Vivaldi’s collection of violin concerti, The Four Seasons, composed between 1718 and 1720, remains some of the most famous, virtuosic, and evocative music ever written. Concerto No. 2 in G minor “Summer” begins under a burning summer sun. The opening bars suggest an oppressive, sultry haze. As the music unfolds, nature comes alive with the song of the cuckoo, turtledove, and finch. The sounds of a shepherd herald the approach of a storm. …

Read more

Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in G Minor, RV 317: Julien Chauvin and Le Concert de la Loge

If you have forgotten how exciting the music of Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) can be, take a moment and listen to this concert performance of the Violin Concerto in G minor, RV 317, featuring French violinist Julien Chauvin and Le Concert de la Loge. As this clip demonstrates, brilliant, crackling virtuosity and searing drama lie at the heart of Vivaldi’s music. In addition to composing more than five hundred concertos, ninety solo sonatas, and dozens …

Read more

A Vivaldi Snapshot

Let’s finish the week with a brief but alluring musical snapshot. This is the beautiful second movement (Andante) from Vivaldi’s Concerto for Strings in F Major, RV 136, completed around 1730. It’s an excerpt from Vivaldi: Arie ritrovate, a 2008 album I featured in last Friday’s post. Violinist Stefano Montanari joins the Ravenna-based baroque orchestra, Accademia Bizantina, led by Ottavio Dantone. I love the way this music draws us in with a sense of majestic, flowing, inevitability. Its roving bass line …

Read more

Send this to a friend