Magazine article Strings

Baroque Violin & Continuo Works Steeped in Personality

Magazine article Strings

Baroque Violin & Continuo Works Steeped in Personality

Article excerpt

BAROQUE VIOLIN & CONTINUO WORKS STEEPED IN PERSONALITY Vivaldi's Opus 2 sonatas show inventiveness and eloquence VIVALDI: SONATAS FOR VIOLIN & BASSO CONTINUO, OP. 2. Weiner Urtext Edition, euro29.95

Music of the Baroque era has endured more abuse at the hands of successive publishers than any other genre. During the 1900s, well-intentioned editors pandered to the taste of the day by "romanticizing" the score. Contemporary players followed the trend with a lush string-sound and sugared the pill with "modernized" accompaniments guaranteed to please concert patrons.

Since the rise and success of the early music movement, Baroque is now in vogue, with innumerable "historically informed" recordings and publishers offering scholarly-critical editions. Vivaldi's 200 violin concertos suited his penchant for virtuosity. A colleague remarked, "He played in admirable fashion, adding a fantasy (solo cadenza) where his fingers came within a straw's breadth of the bridge, leaving no space for the bow, and with an unbelievable velocity, astonishing everyone."

Only 30-40 sonatas for violin and continuo exist. The 12 in this collection, Opus 2, were first published in 1709 - Vivaldi chose Antonio Bortoli of Venice as his publisher. As neither autograph nor manuscript copies have survived, the present text is based on the Venetian and Amsterdam first editions.

In contrast to similar works by his Venetian colleagues Albinoni and Marcello, Vivaldi's sonatas have a distinctive personal profile, varying and enriching Corelli's sonata da camera Opus 5 model with his remarkable inventiveness. …

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