Vivaldi: Violin Concertos, Op. 12

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COMPOSERS: Vivaldi
LABELS: L’OISEAU-LYRE
WORKS: Violin Concertos, Op. 12
PERFORMER: Pavlo Beznosiuk (violin); Academy of Ancient Music/Christopher Hogwood
CATALOGUE NO: 443 556-2
In 1733, Vivaldi told an English visitor that he was no longer interested in publishing his compositions; he thought he could earn more money selling manuscript copies himself. This probably explains why the 12 concertos that comprise his Op. 11 and Op. 12 sets, printed together in Amsterdam in 1729, were the last of his concertos to be published in his lifetime.

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Another possibility is that no one wanted to publish his concertos. By the 1730s, Vivaldi, once one of Europe’s most celebrated composers, was falling out of favour and fashion. Certainly the Op. 12 concertos show him paying serious attention to the new ‘galant’ style. Compared to the dazzling bravura and exuberant swagger of his earlier music, these concertos are more intricate, restrained, elegant. Yet they still abound in imaginative touches: the Largo of Concerto No. 6 is especially lovely, its singing violin line set against delicate pizzicato accompaniment.

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Pavlo Beznosiuk plays with discreet virtuosity and sounds completely at ease with the music – from the Allegros’ mercurial flourishes to the Largos’ more reflective flights. He receives stylish support, too, from the AAM. A very enjoyable disc. Graham Lock