VIVALDI: Dresden Concertos, Vol. 1 (Accademia I Filarmonici/ Alberto Martini/ Gian Andrea Lodovici) (Naxos: 8.553792)
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The first volume in the series of works that could be described as the 'Dresden Concerti', though the connection is slight.
As has so frequently been stated in the current vogue for Vivaldi, he was a prolific composer who wrote over 500 concertos, at one point writing them at around the rate of two per week. They were just a part time occupation while he wrote around 100 operas.
He seemed to be happy to write concertos for all and sundry, and when some outstanding musicians from the court in Dresden visited Venice, Vivaldi struck up a friendship with the violinist, Johann Pisendel. He was to study with Vivaldi as a violinist in 1712, and probably returned to visit the great man on subsequent occasions. He eventually returned to Dresden, where it is claimed he became the most celebrated exponent of the instrument in Germany. He was probably the inspiration for a series of concertos which now exist in manuscript in the Dresden Saxony Landesbiblothek, and were probably used by Pisendel and the orchestra at the court.
They are, as with nearly all the concertos by Vivaldi, in the simple fast - slow - fast format. The precise date of composition is not known, and we are not even sure whether they were all original compositions for Dresden. In fact it is almost certain that he 'fobbed' off the RV 366 Concerto on Dresden having written it previously for one of his pupils at the famous orphanage in Venice.
Some are more in the format of a concertante, the soloist just coming to the fore for short periods, though moments demand tremendous dexterity from the soloist. Here they are performed by the leader of the Accademia I Filarmonici, Alberto Martini. The orchestra normally play without a conductor, and is an 'occasional' orchestra formed from outstanding Italian freelance musicians.
It now has an on-going relationship with Naxos, the present recording being part of a series of Vivaldi recordings they will contribute. The present disc was recorded in Verona, March 1995.