Concerto Grosso in G Minor, Op. 3, No. 2, RV 578 a) Adagio e spiccato (first movement)
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 5 Track 33
Women have never had as strong an influence in music as can be found in the work of the red priest. Though without credit and seated behind a thick screen, Vivaldi's students irrevocably severed instrumental music from a dependence on story telling or dance. Prepared by the emergent overture
, these dauntless performers inspired the organization of the string orchestra that proudly sits in front of the woodwinds, brass, and percussion of today. To my ears, Vivaldi was their spokesperson.
Much like family histories, one learns what little of music history we can in a lopsided fashion. The first time I opened this score, in freshman history class, I sneered. With a prejudice borrowed from a sibling's reaction to a radio station's limited collection, I thought Vivaldi too often got stuck on one note. I wanted to hear the convoluted lines of Bach. When the professor played the recording I was amazed to hear, embedded in the insistent pulse, complicated lines crossing over vibrant harmonies.
What I like about this spiccato first movement is the brief moment that avoids eighth notes near the end. The adagio's general rigidity is all the more stronger with this exception.