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Lamentations and Ululations: Notes before a program

The Greek neighborhood of Venice where Vivaldi lived and worked

Stravinsky accused Vivaldi of writing the same concerto several hundred times. This is a misunderstanding of the music. Not only are Vivaldi’s concertos remarkably varied, they are beguilingly unpredictable. A musician must carefully count measures otherwise he will almost always play at the wrong moment! As natural and symmetrical as a work might appear, Vivaldi plays with phrase lengths and confounds our expectations. This is part of his genius and makes for concertos, if sensitively performed that are never dull. #

Comments

  1. Neil McGowan says:

    In what way did Vivaldi ever ride on JS Bach’s coat tails? Considering he was born a decade earlier?

    • Vivaldi was entirely forgotten from the late 18th century through the 19th century. He actually lived to see his own music considered OLD and out of date. His music was rediscovered when a few concertos (ones that Bach had transcribed) were printed in a volume of the Bach works, including the concerto for 4 violins, and the ones transcribed for solo organ or harpsichord. Thus, through the Bach revival, Vivaldi also was placed in the running again. These were posthumous coat tails I guess.

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