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The Art of the Baroque Trumpet, Vol. 5

An Italian Concert

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Concerto in C major,

RV 537, for two trumpets, strings and continuo (7:00)

1 Allegro 3:03

2 Largo 0:57

3 Allegro 2:59

4 Vivaldi: Combatta un gentil cor from Tito Manlio,

RV 738, for soprano, trumpet, strings and continuo (4:34)

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713): Sonata in D major for trumpet, two violins and continuo (5:06)

5 Grave 0:42

6 Allegro 1:19

7 Grave 1:30

8 Allegro 0:37

9 Allegro 0:59

10 Marc’Antonio Ziani (c.1653-1715): Trombe d’Ausonia from La Flora for soprano, trumpet and continuo (1:25)

Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709): Concerto in D major for trumpet, strings and continuo (6:21)

11 Allegro 2:07

12 Adagio 1:29

13 Presto 0:23

14 Adagio 0:45

15 Allegro 1:37

16 Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1750): Vien con nuova orribil guerra from La Statira for soprano, two trumpets, two oboes, strings and continuo (5:37)

Torelli: Sonata in D major for trumpet, strings and continuo (6:06)

17 Grave 0:21

18 Allegro 0:48

19 Grave 1:53

20 Allegro 1:10

21 Grave 0:31

22 Allegro 1:23

23 Baldassare Galuppi (1706-1785): Alla tromba della Fama for soprano, trumpet, strings and continuo (6:36)

Alessandro Stradella (1644-1682): Sinfonia avanti il Barcheggio for trumpet, two violins and continuo (6:10)

24 Allegro 0:50

25 Andante 2:57

26 Allegro 0:50

27 Allegro 1:33

28 Vivaldi: Agitata da due venti from Griselda,

RV 718, for soprano, strings and continuo (5:53)

Petronio Franceschini (c.1650-1680): Sonata in D major for two trumpets, strings and continuo (6:22)

29 Grave 0:58

30 Allegro 1:22

31 Adagio 1:47

32 Allegro 2:14

Before the seventeenth century the trumpet was exclusively a martial instrument. In the employ of high personages and crowned heads, its signals directed the course of battles. During rare moments of peace, it was associated with pomp and ceremony. It was not accepted into art music, in consort with other, softer instruments, until its masters learned to produce dulcet tones. This happened in different centres at different times. In Italy, at the court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, it was the virtuoso Girolamo Fantini who, around 1630, made \ladies and cavaliers languish with joy, his martial talent turned to love’s use". As his followers mastered the art of playing the trumpet softly, Italian composers turned out a profusion of valuable works featuring this noble instrument in solos with orchestral accompaniment. By 1665, with the Bolognese composer Maurizio Cazzati’s three sonatas for trumpet and strings, it had become a part of church repertoire, and from 1672, when the Venetian composer Antonio Sartorio started to feature the trumpet in his scores, the instrument rapidly became accepted in opera houses as well. Perhaps the most sophisticated use of the trumpet and unequivocal proof of its artistic coming of age was as a rival of a singer, usually a soprano. To imitate the human voice was the highest aim of instrumental music. To vie with the voice on equal terms was an undeniable proof of maturity.

The works included on the present recording exemplify the historical position of the trumpet in Italy during the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as well as its partnership with the human voice.

Antonio Vivaldi, known as the "red priest" because of the colour of his hair, was the most influential composer of his generation. He was rediscovered in the twentieth century, largely through his many concertos, some of which J.S. Bach had transcribed for keyboard. He was also the prolific composer of some fifty operas. Last but not least, his first official employment, initially from 1703 to 1709, was as a violin teacher for the Ospedale della Pietà, one of four Venetian orphanages for indigent girls. Those girls who showed aptitude were given a thorough musical training. Their performances were so remarkable that the church of the Pietà was frequented by the nobility and foreign visitors. Vivaldi’s position was renewed in 1711, a year in which he gained unprecedented international fame by the publication in Amsterdam of his L’Estro armonico, Op. 3, a set of twelve concertos for one, two, and four violins. In 1716 he obtained greater responsibility as maestro de’ concerti.

Was Vivaldi’s concerto for two trumpets written for the Pietà? Its virtuosity makes it hard to believe that it was composed for orphan girls and not for older trumpeters with highly developed professional skills. As Detlef Altenburg has pointed out, it is more highly developed than earlier works of its kind for two trumpets: the range of both solo parts is nearly identical, both soloists being expected to reach high c''', and its form displays great maturity, with an astute balance between orchestral ritornelli and the soloists’ vivacious perorations. Vivaldi may have had help in the completion of this work, for the autograph manuscript shows that the long "windmill" modulatory orchestral ritornello in bars 58-80 of the third movement was written by a different scribe. I imagine the composer left these bars blank and turned the music paper over to a composition student, perhaps one of the girls at the Ospedale della Pietà, telling her to get him from G major to A minor in 22 bars.

The opera Tito Manlio was first staged in 1719 in Mantua, where, a year earlier, Vivaldi had been appointed maestro di cappella da camera to the governor, Prince Philip of Hesse-Darmstadt, a title he retained after his return to Venice. The plot of the opera deals with hostilities between Romans and Latins, in which matters are complicated by the love of Vitellia, daughter of the Roman consul of the title, and Lucio, a Latin knight, while Tito Manlio’s son, Manlio, is betrothed to Servilia, sister of the Latin commander, Geminio. In the second act aria Combatta un gentil cor Lucio feels bound to defend Manlio, imprisoned and condemned by his father, not least in his debt for Manlio’s killing of Geminio, Lucio’s rival for the love of Vitellia. The opera ends in general happiness, with Manlio forgiven and united with Servilia, and Lucio, possibly, with Vitellia.

Vivaldi’s virtuoso aria for soprano, strings and continuo, Agitata da due venti, was taken from the second scene of the second act of his opera Griselda, first performed at the Teatro San Samuele in Venice during the Ascension fair of May 1735. Apostolo Zeno’s libretto was revised by none other than the young Carlo Goldoni. The aria displays the classic predicament of a heroine having to choose between two loves, a situation reflected in the poetic and musical text by the image of a ship tossed on a stormy sea. It was written for the celebrated soprano Margherita Giocamazzi, whose astonishing vocal technique included an immense range descending into the alto register, wide skips, and rapid repeated notes.

Arcangelo Corelli trained in Bologna and moved to Rome in or shortly before 1675, where he enjoyed the successive patronage of Queen Christina of Sweden, Ca
Disc: 1
Sonata in D major for Two Trumpets, Strings and Co
1 Allegro
2 Largo
3 Allegro
4 Combatta un gentil cor for Soprano, Trumpet, Strin
5 Grave
6 Allegro
7 Grave
8 Allegro
9 Allegro
10 Trombe d'Ausonia for Soprano, Trumpet and Continuo
11 Allegro
12 Adagio
13 Presto
14 Adagio
15 Allegro
16 Vien con nuova orribil guerra
17 Grave
18 Allegro
19 Grave
20 Allegro
21 Grave
22 Allegro
23 Alla tromba della Fama for Soprano, Trumpet, Strin
24 Allegro
25 Andante
26 Allegro
27 Allegro
28 Agitata da due venti for Soprano, Strings and Cont
29 Grave
30 Allegro
31 Adagio
32 Allegro
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