Concerto for Violin, Op. 9, No. 2, RV 345, Largo (second movement)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 5 Track 41
Read Kyle Gann's comments on the dangers
of being a professor.
A composer is an asset to even the most Spartan societies. Who cares how they collect their pay? Somebody in town should be thinking about music. Concerning Vivaldi, I like to think of him as an academic composer. If his entire career had taken place in the confines of the Pieta, that would have been enough. The unique demand for new music he enjoyed may have given him a boost. But there is nothing anyone could have said, there is no award or payment that could equal his own judgment after hearing his work performed well. Because he had found a way to write and hear his music he was able to achieve the only success there is for any composer; he kept writing. What we have chosen to say about his effort since then is almost none of his business.
Growing up, I suffered a diet too full of Mozart, particularly the stuff for solo piano and string quartets. It has taken me sometime to recover. However, I never tired, even as a sulky teenager, listening to slow movements. It is in slow movements like this one that we hear the graceful transition away from the arias that started the Baroque to the instrumental pieces that will crystallize in the Classical.
What I like about this piece is the cello part that introduces the soloist and then later closes the curtain. It is impressive that Vivaldi is able to get away with so many leaps, sixes and sevenths even, without losing grace.