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Concertos - Released May 11, 2018 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Concertos for viola d'amore represent a fairly atypical part of Vivaldi's work, and he was probably the first composer to write pieces for this work in the solo concerto format. The viola d'amore was certainly well-liked for its soft, suggestive sound, which evoked the moods and climes of the orient thanks, in particular to its sympathetic strings which vibrate with those strings the player bows. But it was little-used because of its complex tuning and objective difficulties involved in playing it. In fact, the instrument would be tuned in different ways to fit the tonality of the piece being played – the famous scordatura, so finicky for the musicians – and it is believed that Vivaldi wrote these specifically for one of the musicians at Venice's Pietá: the famous Anna-Maria. Another characteristic of these concertos for viola d'amore, the rapid movements are also much longer and fuller than in most of Vivaldi's writing, for example in the seven string concertos which figure at the start of the album, or in the miniatures which were intended as showcases for the talent of the greatest possible number of soloists in the public concerts at the Pietá. A little curiosity is offered up here in the shape of the original concerto La Conca RV163, whose themes mimic the sound of the "conca", a kind of large marine conch used as an instrument since prehistoric times. The recording includes a conch being sounded at the start of the first movement by way of explanation. © SM/Qobuz