Vivaldi wrote an astonishing 500 concertos during his lifetime, of which 27 were composed for solo cello. At the time, the instrument was in its infancy, and it was unusual for great composers to write works specifically for solo cello. Indeed, none of the concertos were published during Vivaldi’s lifetime: they had been written specially for his young female students at the Ospedale della Pietà, where the composer was employed in Venice, and were therefore not widely known. However, Vivaldi clearly saw the potential in the new instrument, otherwise he would not have gone on to write so much material for it; after the violin and bassoon, it is his third most popular solo concerto instrument. The sheer number of concertos allows the full emotional range of the cello to be explored, though Vivaldi stays relatively low in its register, fully exploiting the instrument’s rich and sonorous bass. Contrary to popular beliefs that Vivaldi is repetitive, the concertos are packed with Baroque innovations; virtuosic passages feature lively arpeggios, rapid semiquavers and much rhythmic diversity. This period also saw a heightened use of syncopation, and a real emphasis on melody rather than the monodic music that had preceded it: we see this through Vivaldi’s employment of arpeggio, progression, augmentation and ornamental variation.
Vivaldi wrote cello concertos from the beginning right to the end of his long career, allowing the listener to form a good understanding of the full evolution of the composer’s style. Although rarely performed nowadays, these works deserve to be part of any cellist’s repertoire. First released as part of Brilliant Classics’ authoritative Vivaldi Edition (BC94840), this 4CD set features renowned concertmaster Federico Guglielmo together with his specialist early music ensemble L’Arte dell’Arco, playing on period instruments. They support soloist Francesco Galligioni, an experienced Baroque cellist and viola da gamba player, who has already performed with numerous prestigious early music groups.
The first complete recording of the 27 Cello Concertos by Vivaldi on period instruments!
Antonio Vivaldi was one of the first composers to feature the cello, then a relatively “new” instrument (after the viola da gamba), as a mature solo instrument. He wrote no less than 27 concertos for the cello.
Vivaldi displays an astonishing variety and inventiveness in these works, using the instrument’s possibilities to the utmost; the concertos still offer a serious challenge, both technical and musical, for any professional cellist nowadays. Apart from that they are vintage Vivaldi, featuring an enormous range of emotional extremes, from deep heartfelt sadness to infectious joy.
Excellent performances on period instruments by one of the leading cellists in this field, Francesco Galligioni, solo cellist of the Venice Baroque Orchestra led by Andrea Marcon, he recorded for Archiv/DG and other prestigious labels. Federico Guglielmo, the Early Music veteran, inspires his “L’Arte dell’Arco” to brilliant and passionate playing.
Liner notes written by the cellist.
Recorded in 2014 in Padua, Italy.
6CD multipack featuring all 27 cello concertos.
Notes on the music specially written by Francesco Galligioni
Notes on the performers.