Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Concerti à cinque stromenti RV 464,299, 373, 294a, 208a, 214, Op. VII, Libro II, 1716
Op. 7 was first issued in 1716 and 1717 by the publisher Roger of Amsterdam, but they were subsequently reworked, corrected, and republished in 1723 by Le Cene, again in Amsterdam. The title page reads: “Concerti a Cinque Stromenti, Tre Vìolini, AltoViola, e Basso Continuo di Antonio Vìvaldi Musico di Violino, e maestro dei Concerti dei Pio Ospitale della Pietà di Venetia Opera Settima Libro Primo (Libro Secondo) Uno e con Oboe”. The collection consists of two concertos for oboe, which open each of the two books, and ten concertos for violin. The two oboe concertos are fairly similar in form. The outer movements are more concertante than soloistic, with sections of intense dialogue between the oboe and the violino concertante, whose part includes difficult passages of chords and double stops (Book II, n. 1, first movement). In the central movement, on the other hand, the oboe is given full rein to display all of its expressive possibilities. The remaining concertos for violin once again demonstrate the composer’s great inventive genius. Particularly noteworthy are the Grave from the third concerto of Book I; the third movement “Alla breve” from the third concerto of Book II, where we find a sort of fugue, interrupted by virtuosic solos on the violin; and the fifth concerto of Book II.