Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741, Italian)

Yeah, well, I personally never tire of Vivaldi. The quip about Vivaldi writing 500 times the same work is a fine quip, but it’s a silly comment. Quip for quip, would you accuse Beethoven of lacking imagination because he found no better than to write 33 variations on a theme that he wasn’t even able to invent himself, rather than composing 34 original pieces? My point here is that Vivaldi’s concertos are best viewed as hundreds of variations on a theme. Always similar, and always different, and fantastically imaginative in their ability to endlessly vary the same basic ideas and material.

I’ve reviewed a lot of Vivaldi and have only yet scratched the surface. Time time time, and I really need to live 200 years (that’s why I don’t do sports, it lethally wears the body). I need to transfer all those from Amazon over here (and I have too a number of reviews of The Four Seasons that I haven’t even posted on Amazon). Time time time.

When I have done so, one chapter will be for the transcriptions of the Four Seasons – I love the Seasons (I have an essay to write about the intrepretations of the Seasons) and I love transcriptions. I have a lot of transcriptions of The Four Seasons – not as many as those of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, but still: for two pianos, recorder quintet, flute octet, brass quintet, guitar trio and quartet, Japanese zithers, synthesizer, Nicolas Chédeville’s 18th-century arrangements for bagpipe and hurdy-gurdy, Red Priest’s wild version for recorder, violin, cello and harpsichord, and of course all those that substitute solo recorder or flute to the solo violin (for links to all, see, for the time being, my review of Red Priest’s recording on

And among those, the “recomposition” by Max Richter, on DG 4792777 (2014), making The Seasons sound like music of Michael Nyman.



The Mandolin et lute concertos and trios:

Mandolin Concertos (RV 532, 425, 558), Violin Concertos (RV 583 a due cori “con Violino Discordato”, RV 522 “con violino principale con altro per eco in lontano”, RV 581 “Per la Santissima Assuzione di Maria Vergine”). Bonifacio Bianchi, Alessandro Pitrelli, Piero Toso, Giuliano Carmignola (in RV 522), I Solisti Veneti, Claudio Scimone 1969, 1975, 1978/79. First CD edition Erato “Bonsaï” ECD 55013 (1987) and subsequent reissues

Intégrale des oeuvres avec luth (complete works with lute): Concertos RV 558, RV 540, RV 93, Trios RV 82 and 85. Michel Amoric (lute), Jean Estournet (violin and direction), Jean-Philippe Vasseur (viola d’amore), Ensemble instrumental (rec. 1981). Adès 14.024-2  (1986)

Mandolin Concertos (RV 93, 425, 532, 558). Ugo Orlandi, Dorina Frati, I Solisti Veneti, Claudio Scimone 1983. First CD edition Erato ECD 88042 (1984) and subsequent reissues

Music for Lute and Mandolin (Concertos RV 532 for two mandolins, RV 425 for mandolin, RV 93 for lute, RV 540 for viola d’amore & lute, Trios RV 85 & 82 for lute, violin & cello). Paul O’Dette, Robin Jeffrey (second mandolin), Paul Goodman (violin & viola d’amore), The Parley of Instruments, Paul Goodman and Peter Holman (12/84). Hyperion CDA66160 (LP 1985, CD 1986) and subsequent reissues

Concerti per Liuto e Mandolino / Concertos for Lute and Mandolin (Concertos RV 558 for multiple instruments, RV 540 for viola d’amore & lute, RV 425 for mandolin, RV 93 for lute two violins & b.c., RV 532 for 2 mandolins, Trio RV 85 & RV 82 for violin lute and b.c.). Duilio Galfetti & Wolfgang Paul (mandolin), Luca Pianca (archlute), Enrico Onofri (viola d’amore), Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini December 1990, April/May 1992. Teldec 4509-91182-2 (1993) and subsequent reissues

Comments are welcome