1 LP - 6.41961 AW - (p) 1976
3 CD - 8.35777 XD - (c) 1989

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)


Concerto a-moll für Oboe, Streicher und B.c. (Violoncello, Violone, Cembalo) (F. VII/13) (P. 89)

9' 27" A1
- Allegro
3' 25"

- Largo 3' 07"

- Allegro 2' 55"

Concerto g-moll für Querflöte, Oboe, Violine, Fagott und B.c. (Violoncello, Cembalo) (F. XII/6) (P. 360)

8' 59" A2
- Allegro 2' 12"

- Largo
3' 56"

- Allegro
2' 51"

Concerto e-moll für Fagott, Streicher und B.c. (Violoncello, Violone, Cembalo) (F. VIII/6) (P. 137)

10' 40" B1
- Allegro poco
4' 25"

- Andante 3' 03"

- Allegro 3' 12"

Concerto für Streicher g-moll (F. XI/21) (P. 361)

5' 30" B2
- Allegro
1' 53"

- Largo 1' 32"

- Allegro
2' 05"

CONCENTUS MUSICUS WIEN (mit Originalinstrumenten)

- Jürg Schaeftlein, Oboe - Wilhelm Mergl, Violine
- Leopold Stastny, Querflöte - Josef de Sordi, Violine
- Milan Turkovic, Fagott - Kurt Theiner, Viola
- Alice Harnoncourt, Violine - Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Violoncello
- Walter Pfeiffer, Violine - Eduard Hruza, Violone
- Peter Schoberwalter, Violine - Herbert Tachezi, Cembalo

Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Leitung
Luogo e data di registrazione
Casino Zögernitz, Vienna (Austria) - 1973
Registrazione live / studio
Producer / Engineer
Prima Edizione CD
Teldec "Masters of the Baroque" - 8.35777 XD - (3 cd) - 70' 12" + 71' 37" + 64' 22" - (c) 1989 - ADD
Prima Edizione LP
Telefunken "Das Alte Werk" - 6.41961 AW - (1 lp) - 34' 53" - (p) 1976

The works in our recording show very clearly the qualities on which Vivaldi's fame was based. These are the strcit and strikingly simple framework of the three-part concerto form, the standardisation of which he pursued more decisively than most of his contemporaries; the formation of individual movements in regular alternation between thematically forceful tutti and worthwhile, often virtuoso, solos; a wealth of inspiration as regards theme and style which was able to expand all the more effectively the more strictly the grosso forms were standardized, tonal imagination coupled with virtuosity and colourfulness of orchestral and solo arrangement directly linked with Vivaldi's orchestra practice at the Ospedale della Pietà. Many of his contemporaries, Bach in particular, were superior to the fast and prolific Vivaldi as regards accuracy of workmanship and depth of expression. Many of the younger ones, especially Sammartini, who quickly pushed him into obscurity, decisively rejected the traditions of the 17th century. But hardly one of them was equal to him when it was a matter of abundance od ideas and that brilliant joy in making music and musical sensuousness which have kept Vivaldi's music young until our own times.
The Oboe Concerto in A minor (also passed on as the Bassoon Concerto) displays the "classical" form of the Vivaldi concerto. Two energetic allegro movements, in marked virtuoso style for the oboe form the framework for an intimate largo which draws its life entirely from the blissful cantilene of the solo instrument. The outer movements are exactly the same in form, complete multi-tiered tutti at the beginning and end, and in between three free solos, interrupted by two abbreviated tuttis.
But in detail they very subtly contrast with each other. For instance, in the first movement during the solos elements of the tutti themes are used in the orchestra as accompaniment. In the finale on the other hand, which surprisingly begins with a four-part fugue exposition, the orchestra provides for each solo a new, non-thematic accompanying movement. The only non-typical aspect of the entire concerto is that the finale is in C major instead of A minor.
The Concerto for Transverse Flute, Oboe, Violin, Bassoon and Thoroughbass in G minor is, despite its title, less a concerto than a sonata a quattro, admittedly with concerto-like themes and concerto-virtuoso solos, particularly in the first movement. However, this movement also reveals chamber musical delicacy in the comparatively wide-ranging modulation plan, in the multiplicity of solo-tutti alternation, and in the ingenious play with constantly changing instrumental combinations. The largo - strangely enough in the basic key of G minor - is one of Vivaldi's loveliest Siciliano movements: closely related to folk music in the touchingly simple melody of flute and oboe, and at the same time quite subtle in the accompanying subject of violin and bassoon, and in the harmony (G minor / A major, B-flat major / G major). The finale is a passacaglia (with some liberties taken) on an eicht-bur bass which intensifies with ever new virtuoso and concertante concepts into a fast-moving conclusion.
The Bassoon Concerto in E minor enriches the "classical" type of Vivaldi concerto by close motif links between tutti and solos, continuous motif accompanying subjects to individual solos and motif contrasts in the tutti. Vivaldi was the first to use the bassoon as a solo instrument, and no less than 39 bassoon concertos by him have come down to us. This piece is most probably a late work; the first movement in particular, with its slow tempo, its song-like main motif and richly contrasting tutti exposition, decisively points ahead to the "sensitive" style. The solo instrument also inclines more to blissfully cantabile than virtuoso performance treatment. In the slow movement this cadence, in conjunetien with the key (B minor), brooding unisoni and sighing melodies, works itself up into almost scenic clarification. Even the finale, because of its concentration on the secondary motif of the beginning and the strangely disrupted cantilenas of the bassoon, have a touch of wildness which is highly unusual for Vivaldi's concluding movements. The exploitation of the bassoon for dark, melancholy and violent ological achievements of the composer: the "discovery" of emotions provides one of the decisive musical and music not only the technical performance but also the emotional possibilities of instruments which hitherto had been condemned to act as thoroughbass instruments.
While the Bassoon Concerto is probably a late work, the Concerto for Strings and Thoroughbass in G minor is presumably a very early composition, according to the instrumentation (with largely dependent cellos and basses) a sinfonia a quattro. Judging by movement type and technique it is a work of the immediate post-Corelli period. The first movement is a passacaglia above a twenty-fold reappearing chromatic bass; the upper voices, basically only the two violins, arrange ten consecutives sections, each independent from a motif point of view, which are worked in doubled counterpoint and are developed from the typical contrapuntal and concertante turns of the Corelli style. The solemn B-flat major largo also, entirely developed from a pointed scale motif, still owes something to this style pattern, even though the colourful change from D minor to D major (10 bars before the conclusion) provides a more modern accent. Only the finale is at least in cadence, marked by the spirited runs of the basses, a "genuine" concerto movement, in which all the stops of performance virtuosity are pulled.
As regard form, on the other hand, it is inferior to Vivaldi's more developed concerto movement form because of the rapid sequence of cadences, mainly in regular intervals of four bars, the change from sections in parallels of the third, in the double counterpoint in the two violins, and because of the singular form arrangement, which is between concerto movement and rondo (A B A C A B' A A B"). In its turbulent, reckless activity, the movement seems - after the dignified contrapuntal journeyman's pieces of the preceding movements - to refleet something like a mood of fundamental change. The effects of this change are shown in the other works of our recording.
Vivaldi's concerto works, wich have not been fully explored even to the present time, were recognized at a late stage as regards their musicological significance, and rediscovered even later from the point of view of performance. On the other hand Vivaldi's contemporaries regarded this "prete rosso", the readhaired priest who trained the Orchestra of the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice to an unheard of high standard and had also become famous as a leading concerto violinist, as the most outstanding concerto composer of the epoch. At least between 1710 and 1730, when Vivaldi's fame took on European proportions and increasing numbers of his concertos were distribuited in printed form (admittedly only a fifth of some 450 that have been handed down), there was scarcely a music region where Vivaldi concertos were not played discussed and imitated. Even prior to 1710, works found their way to Germany, a little later to Paris and London. In 1712 Roger began to print Vivaldi works in Amsterdam, the centre of music publishing at that time. Five years later the violinist Pisendel, who had studied under the prete rosso in Venice, made Dresden the focal point of cultivation of Vivaldi, which made a lasting impression on Bach. Even the Czech emigrants, who as Mannheimers helped to prepare the path to the classics, learned from the Vivaldi concertos they had got to know in Prague and in the castles of the Bohemian aristocracy. The fact that towards the end of his life Vivaldi was vehemently criticized north of the Alps of all places and that after his death he was quickly forgotten cannot alter the other fact that up to the threshold of the decisive change in style between 1730 and 1750, he played the first violin in the "European concert."
English translations by Frederick A. Bishop

Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016)
Stampa la pagina
Stampa la pagina