The instrumental works published in life

News about Antonio Vivaldi

Find Your Concert

The instrumental works published in life

1705, Opera I - a collection of Sonatas, each in four movements and written for three instruments (2 violins and harpsichord) which owe a lot to the example of Arcangelo Corelli. Among them, a Sonata entitled Variazioni su la Folia stands out, a popular melody on which many composers tried their hand. Dedicated to Annibale Gambara, a nobleman.1709, Opera II - Another group of Sonatas for two instruments (violin and harpsichord) in the style of Corelli. Here, however, Vivaldi's inventive imagination begins to manifest itself. It was dedicated to Frederick IV of Denmark on the occasion of his visit to Venice during the Carnival.1711, Opera III - L'Estro Armonico - Temporarily free from the commitment of teaching at the Ospedale della Pietà, Vivaldi undertakes the challenge of creating one of the largest concert collections ever made in Venice, a challenge that will lead him to fame in all of Europe. By overturning the Venetian "rule" of two violin parts, Vivaldi writes four for each concert, two first and two seconds, a bit like it was happening at the same time in Rome (Corelli's Concerti Grossi). The Estro Armonico, possible influences aside, is only Vivaldi for its inventive richness, exuberance, joy and Mediterranean warmth. Now it is Vivaldi who begins to influence European composers, as immediately happens for Johann Joachim Quantz and Johann Sebastian Bach. In his dedication to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando, Vivaldi promises the forthcoming publication of 12 solo violin concertos.

1714, Opera IV - La Stravaganza - Riding on the success of L’Estro Armonico, Vivaldi publishes a celebration of violin technique in 12 concerts. By now at ease with the form of the Concerto, he overcomes conventions by pushing to the maximum the research of the abilities of the violin. The number 8 is the emblem of his work and perhaps the most powerful of all in terms of themes and structure. Ten concerts are in three movements, fast-slow-fast, and the central one is stretched and worked in stark contrast to the external ones. The impression on those who listened to them for the first time must have been very strong: only for a century had music detached from the solemnity of sacred vocal music. Vivaldi himself wrote a lot of it, but accompanying it separately with a large amount of non-religious and operatic pages, where he succeeds in enormously developing instrumental techniques while seeking, at the same time, the pleasure of the sound: this is probably the reason - the novelty, the surprise - which makes Vivaldi so popular even today. The Stravaganza is dedicated to Vettor Dolfin, a Venetian nobleman and his pupil. 1716, Opera V - A collection of six Sonatas that seem written to please the audience of Northern Europe, very "withheld" and with little joie de vivre. No dedication. 1717, Opera VI - Six Violin Concerts, almost reminiscent of the first Vivaldi, rather than Corelli. It does not carry dedications. 1721, Opera VII - Twelve violin concertos for a new return to the form that we now consider "the sound of Vivaldi". There are doubts about the authorship of some of them, especially the two for oboe (it happened that the publisher, in this case Roger, "completed" a printed collection of a composer with pieces by other authors). No dedication.

1725, Opera VIII - Published in Amsterdam, contains The Four Seasons, four violin concertos, each dedicated to a season of the year and accompanied by a sonnet describing the "intention" of the music. The twelve concerts of the op. VIII are called by the author The trial of harmony and invention, a title that indicates the perennial battle between harmony, form and rationality against the strength of inventions, imagination and creativity. A way to explain Vivaldi's use of the rigid concert-form that becomes a tool for the imagination. "Programmatic" music was out of the ordinary in the Baroque period and these concerts seem to represent a milestone (with notes accompanied by explanatory words) in Vivaldi's very personal musical history. Work VIII is dedicated to Count Wenzel von Morzin of Bohemia. 1727, Opera IX - La Cetra - This group of twelve violin concertos emphasizes what Vivaldi had learned by composing works for the theater: they are, in fact, full of almost vocal melodiousness, very far from his first period.Dedicated to the Austrian emperor Charles VI, who rewarded him with a chain and a gold medal. 1728, Opera X - Il gardellino - the only collection written for an instrument other than the violin and the first ever written for flute, in six concerts. The flute was a new instrument for the Baroque and was introduced to the Pietà during the use of Vivaldi probably replacing the flute, or "piccolo": in this collection, only the fourth concert is original, the other remakes of previous writings precisely for this 'last. Adequate to express Vivaldi's energetic vitality, the flute in the first concert, The Sea Storm, is taken to the extreme limits, denying the normal use of accompaniment or color and instead becoming the protagonist of the furious sea storm. The second, La Notte, is one of the most famous pieces of the Baroque and of Vivaldi: contrary to the title it is not contemplative, but something similar to a nightmare, to a restless sleep, with the flute always at the forefront. No dedication.

1729, Opera XI - Six more violin concertos, with a central one for oboe, in the now familiar Vivaldi style. No dedicatees are indicated. 1729, Opera XII - the last collection published by Vivaldi, a group of six violin concertos, with no dedication. § At this point Vivaldi stopped publishing music of his own hand, declaring that it was much more profitable to sell the manuscripts directly. There is also an Opera XIII, Il pastor fido, declared "by Vivaldi" by its true author, the Parisian musician Nicolas Chédeville, who also stole something from La Stravaganza to make its sounds more credible. Even the six cello sonatas of the so-called “Opera XIV” are very dubious.