Work: Concerto for 2 Violins in A minor, Op. 3 no 8/RV 522
About This Work
Preceded only by a set of Trio Sonatas in 1705 and a set of Violin Sonatas in 1709, Antonio Vivaldi's first published set of concertos, called "L'estro armonico," was the most influential and innovative collection of orchestral music of the
first half of the eighteenth century. "L'estro armonico" (roughly, The Genius of Harmony) was published as his Op. 3 in Amsterdam in 1711 by Estienne Roger and quickly completely changed the form from the more weighty Roman model of Corelli to the lighter Venetian model of Vivaldi.
The eighth work in the set is the Concerto in A minor, RV 522, a three-movement work for two solo violins concertino plus orchestral ripieno of violins, violas, cello, and basso continuo. The opening Allegro has a powerful and propulsive opening theme for the ripieno followed by driving episodes for the two soloists playing separately and in imitation. The central Larghetto e spiritoso is close to a sarabande in its march-like ripieno chord sequence and close to a passacaglia in its lyrical episodes for the two soloists. The closing Allegro opens with a fast and brilliant imitative sequence for the ripieno leading to a strong cadence. The sequence functions as a theme, alternating for the rest of the movement with glinting soloists playing off each other straight through to the final big cadence.
-- James Leonard
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