Friday, February 20, 2015

Vivaldi, Vivaldi (Part 1)

No. 186 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages can be found in our archives at

This week’s podcast complies to our “Double, Double” formula in more ways than one – it is the first of two podcasts dedicated to the concertos of Antonio Vivaldi, and all the concertos in this two-part series are double concertos, or concertos that require two soloists.

This short two-part series also launches a longer arc, spanning most of the next 10 weeks, where we will explore several aspects (and different flavors) of concertos.

Two of this week’s selections come from a large collection of twelve concertos for one, two and four violins written in 1711 by the Red Priest known as “L’Estro Armonico” (translates as Harmonic Inspiration). The L’Estro concerti are often called concerti grossi in which the musical material is passed between a small group of soloists (the concertino) and full orchestra (the ripieno or concerto grosso).

The concerto, like many forms of classical music, has undergone significant transformation over 500 years of Western Classical Music evolution. Concerti grossi, which were an extremely popular form in the baroque era, has given way to “solo concertos” in the late Baroque and Classical eras. In the solo concerto formula, we are more likely to encounter this “friendly face-off” between soloist and orchestra which we have come to associate with concerti. What makes L’Estro special is that even in the case of the concerti with many soloists, the concertino group does have their moments where they have this friendly rivalry with the larger ensemble.

This trait extends to the vast majority of Vivaldi’s double concertos, whether they feature two similar instruments (thus, playing in the same range), or with two different instruments. Our podcast, for example, features two concertos for cello and violin (thus, two instruments playing at different ranges), that play against each other, and against the orchestra, generally to great effect.

Noteworthy in our podcast are two of Vivaldi’s better-known double concertos, for two mandolins and two trumpets, as well as the usual set for stringed soloists. I also added a unique transcription of one of the L’Estro concertos for two horn soloists.

I think you will love this music too!

No comments:

Post a Comment