Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

Concerto in g minor, F.XI. no 21


It is astonishing to think that at the beginning of this century Vivaldi was virtually unknown to everyone except a few scholars. Indeed only a fifth of his works had been published in his lifetime. So unknown was he that the great violinist Kreisler got away with composing a concerto and passing it off as Vivaldi’s.

This changed before the second world war when the Silesian fathers in Piedmont contacted the Turin National Library requesting assistance in identifying crates of music which they had discovered. When the library examined the crates they discovered hundreds of autographs of Vivaldi’s works. Their excitement was immense yet they feared to make it public lest the collection fell into the hands of unscrupulous auctioneers and private collectors. In great secrecy they set about searching for a patron who would buy the collection for the library. Finally a Turin citizen donated the money and the collection was named after his deceased son. From that time on musicians were able to discover under one roof the wealth of material which this collection opened up to the world and the genius of Vivaldi was recognised.

Neglected works such as the concerto in g minor exhibit the marvellous writing for strings of which Vivaldi was a master.

copyright © Lygia O'Riordan