Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
The XII Paris Concertos
The German patrician von Uffenbach, during a visit to Venice for the carnival of 1715, at long last managed to meet with Vivaldi and order from him “10 concerti grossi”. Three days later, the composer reappeared with all of therequested music, assuring his patron that it had been expressly composed for him. Vivaldi was unquestionably a very quick composer, but he was also a barefaced and extremely capable promoter of his own talents. The collection of twelve concertos for strings, now preserved in Paris, also has all the earmarks of having been a rapidly and cleverly assembled series of previously composed works, with very little new music added. This same modus operandi would mark the genesis of op. 10 and many other collections by Vivaldi. In the twelve Paris concertos, the clues are obvious: two concertos are clearly an homage to the French patron, that probably must be identified in Vincent Languet, french ambassador in Venice and sponsor of other Vivaldi’s pages, like the serenata La Senna Festeggiante. They are both longer than the others, composed in a slightly more modern musical language, and bear markedly French stylistic elements. The concertos in question are ns. 2 and 5, which Vivaldi composed when they were commissioned in order to complete the compilation of concertos which were already ready for publication.