Vivaldi: sacred works for soprano and concertos

Solomon, A. (2011) Vivaldi: sacred works for soprano and concertos. [Audio]


Sacred works and concertos by Antonio Vivaldi, performed by period instrument ensemble Florilegium, and Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano): Concerto Madrigalesco rv129; Laudate Pueri rv601; Il Gran Mogul rv431a; Motet Nulla in mundo rv630; Concerto in B flat rv547. Vivaldi’s instrumental chamber works cannot be dated with any certainty, nor do we know for whom they were written. Despite this lack of information, we can surmise he produced them for his pupils at the Pietà, perhaps during the late 1720’s and 1730’s. Bach, Telemann and several French composers all explored the chamber concerto medium to a great degree. 18th-century Italian composers, who concentrated on opera, sacred and secular music for the voice, appear to have ignored it, with the exception of Vivaldi.A score of a flute concerto by Vivaldi was recently discovered by the musicologist Andrew Woolley among the Marquess of Lothian family papers in the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh. It is thought that the score of the concerto by Vivaldi, titled Il Gran Mogol, was collected in the 1730’s by Lord Robert Kerr, the son of the third Marquis of Lothian, during a “grand tour” of continental Europe. During his Grand Tour, Lord Kerr may have actually attended a concert at the Ospedale Della Pietà, a major attraction for foreign visitors to the city. On that tour, Kerr, a flautist, is also believed to have acquired three pieces found in the same folder as the concerto. He was commissioned into the army in 1739, was captain of the grenediers and died at the battle of Culloden in 1746, fighting for government forces against the Jacobites.Il Gran Mogol, referring to India or the Mogul empire, is believed to have been written by Vivaldi in the late 1720’s or early 1730’s as part of a quartet of short “national” concertos. The other three in this collection were entitled La Franca, La Spagna, and L’Inghilterro. All four of these concertos were referred to in the sales catalogue of an 18th-century Dutch bookseller, but only Il Gran Mogol has since been discovered.

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