MuseData: Antonio Vivaldi
1 L'estro armonico: Twelve Concertos for Violins and String Orchestra, Op. 3
The first concertos by Vivaldi to reach print were those of Opus 3 (Amsterdam, 1711). With them Vivaldi suddenly became a celebrity, for although he was well known as a virtuoso, his previously published works had found a relatively modest reception.
1.1 Vivaldi in 1711
Through his prior eight years' teaching of string instruments at the Ospedale of the Pietà in Venice, Vivaldi shows himself to have experimented with a variety of approaches to textures and groupings of instruments. The works are arranged cyclically, such that Nos. 1, 4, 7, and 10 are scored for four violins and string orchestra; Nos. 2, 5, 8, and 11 for two violins, violoncello, and string orchestra; and Nos. 3, 6, 9, and 12 for solo violin (Violino Principale) and string orchestra. Within the concertino groups (four violins or, alternatively, two violins and violoncello), there is further separation. For example, the "four violins" model often involves the pairing of the instruments such that one duo imitates another. This kind of experimentation is suggested by the word estro, which refers to gestational properties whereby one passage generates the need for the next.
1.2 Highlights and Importance of Op. 3
Within the context of Vivaldi's development, Op. 3 marked the first milestone on his path to renown. The music was cogent, the organization manifestly rational. Beyond that, the works exhibited imaginative scoring, careful markup, and newly pungent musical affects--none of them traits of which Opp. 1 or 2 gave any inkling. Suddenly Vivaldi's music was novel, ambitious, and aesthetically pleasing. Largely in coincidence with this publication, Vivaldi's concerts at the Pietà began to win plaudits from a succession of visiting dignitaries from abroad.
Within the context of the early concerto, it was equally noteworthy. The now elderly Corelli had perfected the concerto grosso [in his Op. 6, which would not be published for another three years]. Vivaldi's concertos for two and four violins had some debts to these works, but his concertos for solo violin and orchestra did not have Corelli's example to follow. Trumpet concertos by Giuseppe Torelli were similar in very general ways, but Vivaldi's skills at articulation and exhibitionism were unrivaled.
1.2.1 Expansion of Virtuoso Idiom
1.3 Dissemination of Individual Works from Op. 3
Several works from Opus 3 took on lives of their own. Six were transcribed by J. S. Bach, and there are faint clues that Bach may have transcribed them all. In his reworkings, the concertos for two violins and cello were transcribed for organ. Those for solo violin were used as the basis for harpsichord concertos. Only one of the works for four violin was recomposed--as a concerto for four harpsichords.
Apart from Bach's transcriptions, there was wide circulation of the music (much of it based on John Walsh's edition of c. 1715, in which the order of Nos. 6-9 was changed such that the concertos became Nos. 8, 9, 6, and 7). Anne Dawson's Book (a collection of transcriptions for clavichord) features Nos. 5, 7, 9, and 12 (Roger's numbering). Numerous other transcriptions survive in Europe and North America.
1.4 CCARH Parts for Opus 3
The following parts are in PDF and CFT formats. CFT files may be viewed or printed in Microsoft Windows by downloading the DMuse Viewer. These parts for Antonio Vivaldi's Op.3 concerti accompany the full score available from Dover Publications (cover shown above):
Vivaldi, Antonio. "L'Estro armonico", Op. 3 in Full Score: 12 Concertos
for Violins and String Orchestra. Ed. by Eleanor Selfridge-Field. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications; 1999. ISBN 0-486-40631-8.
2 Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'invenzione: Twelve Concertos for Violin and String Orchestra, Op. 8
2.1 CCARH Parts for Op. 8
The following parts for Antonio Vivaldi's Op.8 concerti accompany the full score available from Dover Publications:
- Vivaldi, Antonio. "The Four Seasons" and Other Violin Concertos in Full Score; Opus 8, Complete. Ed. by Eleanor Selfridge-Field. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications; 1995. ISBN 0-486-28638-X.
|Op. 8,||No. 1||RV 269||Concerto in E Major, "La Primavera" ("Spring")||parts|
|Op. 8,||No. 2||RV 315||Concerto in G Minor, "L'Estate" ("Summer")||parts|
|Op. 8,||No. 3||RV 293||Concerto in F Major, "L'Autunno" ("Autumn")||parts|
|Op. 8,||No. 4||RV 297||Concerto in F Minor, "L'Inverno" ("Winter")||parts|
|Op. 8,||No. 5||RV 253||Concerto in E♭ Minor, "La Tempesta de Mare" ("The Storm at Sea")||parts|
|Op. 8,||No. 6||RV 180||Concerto in C Major, "Il Piacere ("Pleasure")||parts|
|Op. 8,||No. 7||RV 242||Concerto in D Minor||parts|
|Op. 8,||No. 8||RV 332||Concerto in G Minor||parts|
|Op. 8,||No. 9||RV 236||Concerto in D Minor||parts|
|Op. 8,||No. 10||RV 362||Concerto in B♭ Major, "La Caccia" ("The Hunt")||parts|
|Op. 8,||No. 11||RV 210||Concerto in D Major||parts|
|Op. 8,||No. 12||RV 178||Concerto in C Major||parts|
3 Six Concertos for Flute and String Orchestra, Op. 10; Related Variants
As published, Vivaldi's Opus 10 is a straightforward collection of concertos for flute and string orchestra. Most works which originally called for obbligato flutes seem to have originated during the early 1720s, perhaps reflecting opportunities that Vivaldi encountered in Rome, where he stayed intermittently between c. 1719 and 1724. Although the transverse flute was then little known in Italy, the availability of an excellent player is was essential for the execution of several of his works for it.
Opus 10 appear in 1729, in rough coincidence with Vivaldi's violin concertos Opp. 11 and 12. All three volumes were published in Amsterdam. Although published set was designed for a market oriented towards some kind of standardized, relatively neutral instrumentation, the origins of the individual works were heterogeneous. The indications suggested by the related concertos show on the lower half of the chart below do not include subtle differences of instrumental alternatives and/or pairings--for example, an independent oboe part vs. an oboe part duplicating a second violin, a separate cello part vs. an unspecified Basso, and so forth. One manuscript source for No. 3 is scored for recorder rather than violin.
The transverse flute and the recorder were both associated with a certain freedom of timbral composition. The so-called chamber concertos (RV 570, 90, and 101) for flute (or recorder), oboe, bassoon, violin, and bass can be understood to signify this sense of free play, rather than a subgenre cast in concrete. Although Vivaldi's chamber concertos had few analogues during Vivaldi's lifetime, they paved the way to a rich chamber repertory in the later eighteenth century.
|Op. 10,||No. 1||RV 433||Concerto in F Major for Flute and Strings, "The Sea Tempest"||parts|
|Op. 10,||No. 2||RV 439||Concerto in G Minor for Flute and Strings, "Night"||parts|
|Op. 10,||No. 3||RV 428||Concerto in D Major for Flute and Strings, "The Goldfinch"||parts|
|Op. 10,||No. 4||RV 435||Concerto in G Major for Flute and Strings||parts|
|Op. 10,||No. 5||RV 434||Concerto in F Major for Flute and Strings||parts|
|Op. 10,||No. 6||RV 437||Concerto in G Major for Flute and Strings||parts|
|RV 444||Concerto in C Major for Sopranino Recorder and Strings||parts|
|Op. 10,||No. 1 (alt.)||RV 570||Concerto in F Major for Flute, Oboe, Bassoon and Strings||parts|
|Op. 10,||No. 2 (alt.)||RV 501||Concerto in B♭ Major for Bassoon and Strings||parts|
|Op. 10,||No. 3 (alt.)||RV 90||Concerto in D Major for Flute, Oboe, Violin and Bassoon||parts|
|Op. 10,||No. 5 (alt.)||RV 442||Concerto in F Major for Recorder and Strings||parts|
|Op. 10,||No. 6 (alt.)||RV 101||Concerto in G Major for Flute, Oboe, Violin and Bassoon||parts|
The first three works are the best known ones of the collection. Their programmatic allusions are largely confirmed in associated manuscripts. Storms at sea and phantoms of the night (the images cultivated by the first two) were staples of opera staging at Venice's Teatro Sant'Angelo, the Venetian theater with which Vivaldi and his father were most consistently associated. Both played a prominent role in Venetian scene paintings contemporary with Vivaldi.
The representation of sleep in the fourth movement of Op 10, No. 2, is illustrative of a fascination with dreams and the supernatural that was probed cautiously on the stage because of the pervasive scrutiny of religious censors. However, the dramatization of darkness fed Sant'Angelo's penchant for grottoes and grotesque scenes. It is darkness that the bassoon invokes in the manuscript RV 501 (the loose analogue of No. 2), where the the key is Bb Major rather than G Minor.
Vivaldi's depictions of bird-calls (in Op. 10, No. 3 a bullfinch) were prevalent not only in his concertos but also in his operas, and in dozens of works by other composers of the time. Also elsewhere they often suggested the formal gardens that were so much promoted by the aristocracy, in Vivaldi's case they are more often a natural depiction of bucolic habitats consistent with the imagery of Arcadian shepherds than of programmed landscapes abroad.
The sopranino recorder concerto RV 444 is a unique work among Vivaldi's oeuvre, although it could easily have been adapted to a different soloist. It would have suited a virtuoso of considerable renoun.
The parts above are in PDF and CFT formats. CFT files may be viewed or printed in Microsoft Windows by downloading the DMuse Viewer. These parts for Antonio Vivaldi's Op.10 accompany the full score available as Vivaldi, Antonio: "L'Estro armonico", Op. 3, in Full Score: 12 Concertos for Violins and String Orchestra, ed. by Eleanor Selfridge-Field. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications; 1999. ISBN 0-486-42243-7.