Thursday, January 10, 2013

Vivaldi - Concerto For Guitar And Strings

Vivaldi's Concerto For Guitar, Strings and Continuo is one of the hundreds of concertos Vivaldi wrote when he was the master of violin at the Conservatorio dell'Ospedale della Pietà  (The Devout Hospital of Mercy), an orphanage in Venice. He was associated with the orphanage for thirty years And wrote many of his most well known works while there.  He wrote concertos for combinations of solo instruments as well as single solo instruments.

This concerto is in three movements. The first movement begins with a statement by the strings. The solo guitar enters and the soloist and strings trade statements back and forth in the traditional ritornello form of the time.  The second movement is a gentle siciliano that begins in the major but is calmly punctuated in the minor in the middle section. The finale is a rollicking jig.

Vivaldi was one of the great composers and violinists of his time. His concertos follow a formula, but within those confines he created music that can touch the heart and lift the spirit.  His influence was wide and far, as J.S.Bach knew his compositions and arranged some of the concertos for solo organ and groups of harpsichords.

After his death in 1741, Vivaldi's music was generally forgotten. It wasn't until the early 20th century that some of his works were rediscovered by musicians and musicologists. He wrote over 500 concertos,  with about 230 for solo violin. This concerto was originally written for lute, but is played on the guitar in most modern performances.


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