VIVALDI: Dresden Concertos, Vol. 2 (Accademia I Filarmonici/ Alberto Ambrosini/ Alberto Martini/ Roberto Baraldi) (Naxos: 8.553793)
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The second volume in the series of works that could be described as the 'Dresden Concerti', though that title is a commercial appendage rather than a factual ascription.
As frequently stated, Vivaldi was a prolific composer who wrote over 500 concertos, and at one point was writing them at around the rate of two per week. Yet even these had to be squeezed into the time left between writing 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 payed visits to 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 supposedly used by Pisendel and the orchestra at the court.
They are, as with nearly all the concertos by Vivaldi, in the fast - slow - fast format, though the truncated central movement in the F major lasts but a few bars. The precise date of composition is not known, and we are not even sure whether they were all original compositions for Dresden.
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' ensemble formed from outstanding Italian freelance musicians specialising in authentic instrument performances.
The Filarmonici now has an on-going relationship with Naxos, the present recording being part of their contribution to the complete orchestral works of Vivaldi being recorded by Naxos. The present disc was recorded in Verona, June 1995.