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Cat. No. CHAN 0647 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 0647 - Vivaldi: Paris Concertos
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Available From: 21 October 1999
The manuscripts of these string concertos exist as separate parts for the first and second violins, violas and bass preserved in the library of the Paris Conservatoire. The manuscript is quite likely to have reached the library as a result of the mass confiscations of Noble property following the French Revolution.

The concertos are all classifiable by genre as concerti a quattro: that is, concertos for the standard string orchestra of the time but without the participation of a violin or other soloist (although soloists can be extracted as needed for colouristic purposes). After the rise of the solo concerto from c.1710, concerti a quattro became much less popular, especially since operatic overtures, which were normally scored for exactly the same forces, could be detached from their parent work and used as independent concert symphonies (sinfonie de camera).

Vivaldi left over forty concerti a quattro, which were composed throughout his career. Most were probably destined for the concerts of instrumental music preformed by an all female ensemble that followed services in the chapel of the Ospedale della Pietà., where Vivaldi served in various capacities between 1703 and 1740.

In the first movements and most of the finales of the present concertos Vivaldi adopts a form related to, but not identical with, the so-called ritornello form associated with the fast movements of his solo concertos. The main difference is that there is here much less episodic writing, hence a tauter construction and a more consistently ‘symphonic’ manner of developing material. Nearly all the slow movements are brief interludes.
Vivaldi: 'Paris' Concertos - CM 90, Standage

Vivaldi wrote over forty concerti a quattro for strings alone, without a soloist, and the present group were gathered together in a single manuscript, written in the hand of Vivaldi's father, and have been preserved in the Paris Conservatoire library ever since. They are each in three movements, with the central slow movement quite brief and acting as an expressive interlude linking the two vivacious framing allegros. The exception is RV 114, which is in two movements, the first moving from a sharply dotted allegro, with a jolly Chaconne to round things off. RV 133 has a striking Rondeau finale, and it is thought that these two works may have been composed separately from the others. They are all freshly inventive and played here with springing rhythms and plenty of vitality. In three concertos, though not specified by the composer, woodwind have been added to give extra colour. The touch of abrasiveness on the string sound is aurally bracing, and the slow movements have a nicely ruminative improvisatory feel. The recording is first class.
The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs

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