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Name of Work

Vivaldi, Antonio (1678-1741)
Concerto in C Major for bassoon

Movements:
Allegro
Largo
Allegro

Performances:


Nov 08, 2009



Dennis Michel, Bassoon
Joseph Genualdi, Viola
Jasmine Lin, Violin
Rami Solomonow, Viola
Stephen Balderston, Cello
Peter Lloyd, Double bass
Jason Moy, Harpsichord


Nov 09, 2009



Dennis Michel, Bassoon
Joseph Genualdi, Viola
Jasmine Lin, Violin
Rami Solomonow, Viola
Stephen Balderston, Cello
Peter Lloyd, Double bass
Jason Moy, Harpsichord

VIVALDI - Concerto for Bassoon, Strings and Continuo in C major, R. 478

Composed in 1725

Vivaldi was occupied with the composition of concertos for over forty years. He inherited many of the formal and stylistic traits of this music from the many Italian composer-violinists who were spurred by the achievements in string instrument making scored by such Cremonese craftsmen as Stradivarius, Guarneri and Amati. Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) laid the foundation for the concerto form late in the 17th century with works that pitted a small band of soloists against the larger body of the orchestra in the concerto grosso. His principles of construction were transferred from a group of soloists to a single featured performer by Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709). It was Vivaldi, however, who gathered together many disparate ideas to create the form and style of the mature Baroque concerto that was to have such a profound influence on Bach, Handel and even Mozart. (The concerto, it must be remembered, reached its formal perfection at least a half century before the symphony, and is the earliest form of music still part of the regular orchestral repertory.) Vivaldi’s contributions to the genre may be summarized as follows: he established the three-movement, fast–slow–fast organization of the concerto that has served almost three centuries of composers; he introduced brilliance and virtuosity into the solo part (he was known in his day as much for his impassioned violin playing as for his compositions); he brought a certain quality of heightened, dramatic expression into instrumental music; he created themes with distinct profiles that were easy to remember; he codified the ritornello form; he injected a quality of almost operatic pathos into many of his slow movements; and he promoted the use of wind instruments.

The C major Bassoon Concerto (R. 478) is one of 36 such works that Vivaldi produced for that instrument, second in number in his output only to those for violin and more than any other composer. The opening movement, full of nimble virtuosity and muscular gesture, follows traditional ritornello form, with solo episodes separating the “returns” (“ritornelli” in Italian) of the orchestra’s themes. The lyrical and soulful Largo is a wordless remainder that Vivaldi was the author of more than forty operas. The finale, again in ritornello form, includes much technical display, testimony to the excellent abilities of Vivaldi’s Venetian musicians.

Program Notes by Dr. Richard E. Rodda

Performed November 8 & 9, 2009



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