WORLD PREMIERE RECORDINGS
Antonio Vivaldi series
Baltic Baroque, kunstiline juht Grigori Maltizov
Second record of the Vivaldi Series. The current CD presents sonatas that have previously never been recorded. Bestseller 2013.
“… enjoyable and stylish performances… For complete-ists, this is a must, as well as for all Vivaldi sonata players.” (Early Music Review, 10 / 2013)
|1−4||Sonata à Violino Solo in Sol maggiore, RV 776*||11:10|
|5−7||Sinfonia à Violino Solo in Si minore, RV 35a||8:24|
|8−12||Sonata à Violino Solo in Re minore, RV 13||9:04|
|13−16||Sonata à Violino Solo in Si bemolle maggiore, RV 809||8:38|
|17−20||Sonata à Violino Solo in Re maggiore, RV 785||18:39|
|21−24||Sonata à Violino Solo in Sol maggiore, RV 24||9:54|
* The Ryom Verzeichnis (abbreviated RV) is a catalog of the music of Antonio Vivaldi created by Peter Ryom.
#2, Sonata à Violino Solo in Sol maggiore, Mov II, fragm, 2 min 10 sec, mp3, 192 Kbps
#7, Sinfonia à Violino Solo in Si minore, Mov III, 1 min 21 sec, mp3, 192 Kbps
#21, Sonata à Violino Solo in Sol maggiore, Mov I, fragm, 2 min 3 sec, mp3, 192 Kbps
BALTIC BAROQUE on period instruments
Directed by Grigori Maltizov
Maria Krestinskaya − baroque violin (#1−4, #21−24)
Evgeny Sviridov – baroque violin (#5−7)
Andrey Reshetin – baroque violin (#8−12, #17−20)
Marina Katarzhnova – baroque violin (#13−16)
Sofia Maltizova – baroque cello
Imbi Tarum – harpsichord
Recorded 2011−2012 in St Jacob’s Church, Viimsi, Estonia and 2012 in House of the Blackheads, Tallinn, Estonia (#1, #21−24)
Engineered by Tanel Klesment
Engineered by Margo Kõlar (#1)
Edited and mastered by Maido Maadik
Liner notes by Anna Bulycheva
Booklet translated and edited by Tiina Jokinen and Inna Kivi
Front cover painting by Canaletto
Designed by Mart Kivisild
Executive producers Peeter Vähi and Olavi Sööt
Liner notes in Estonian, Russian and English languages
Released in 2013
© Estonian Record Productions
The current CD presents sonatas that have previously never been recorded. Why have they stayed in the shadow like Cinderella for so long? There is a multitude of reasons but they all fall into the area of origin, authorship and relations in music.
Sonata in B minor, RV 35a is named by the author Sinfonia à Violino Solo d’Antonio VivaldiStampata, i.e. A Published Symphony for Solo Violin by Antonio Vivaldi.
The word “symphony” in Vivaldi’s times denoted a wide range of musical works: it could be practically any instrumental piece, especially when it was preceding a vocal composition like motet, cantata or operatic scene. It is quite likely that the Sonata in B minor was born namely as such. It was published in Amsterdam, 1716, as part of Op 5 containing four solo and two trio sonatas.
While preparing the work for publishing, Vivaldi made major changes to the Symphony, as a result of which its “younger sister” − Sonata RV 35 − was sent to the ball in Amsterdam.The composer took great care in giving its brainchild fashionable attire: he named the three movements prelude, allemande and courante; diminished the contrast between tempos (Adagio − Allegro − Presto were changed into Largo − Allegro − Allegro), added trills and softened the harmony.
Most important, though, is the fact that Vivaldi changed the first movement: in the currently presented version it is a serious extensive piece in the spirit of old church sonatas. In the Amsterdam publication the prelude is a minuet embellished with triplets characteristic of the new “gallant” style.
However, Sonata RV 35a − the poor Cinderella that was not allowed to the ball − has its own values which finally enabled her to find the Prince.
Sonata in G major, RV 776 has also got two versions, the main difference lying in the odd-numbered slow movements − the composer was eager to make changes namely in the slow movements whereas the quick ones form a skeleton of the work. Each of the two versions contain a movement identical to one in another Sonata in G major, RV 22 by Vivaldi. It is quite intruiging that Sonata RV 776 is also included in the catalogue under the sonatas by… Giuseppe Tartini (1692−1770). However, the close relations between RV 22 and 776 point to the authorship by “the Red Priest”.
The current CD presents a summarized version which does not contain the common movements with RV 22. It opens in a dreamy Adagio, followed by an energetic rigodon in the second (Allegro) movement and, by tonality in minor, in the third (Largo) movement. The final Allegro does not contain any specific surprises. At times, the violin and cello merge into a loving duet, respectively performing one and the same melody in major third or major sixth over an octave. In the final bars a new folk spirited melody appears standing out by a sharp rhythm and by no less sharp Lydian scale.
Doubts about authorship in music are not always groundless: it is a common knowledge in painting and even sculpture how often the great masters are being copied (just watch the movie “How to Steal a Million” with Audrey Hepburn). There are no less copies in music. During Haydn’s lifetime there were works published under his name that he did not even suspect they existed and works by Alessandro Stradella appeared from nowhere one and a half century after his death under romantic circumstances.
Copying is the best proof of the author’s popularity and success. Thus Vivaldi could not be spared the same “honour”. The most conspicuous case was the publication of a collection of six sonatas Op 13 “The Faithful Shepherd” in Paris. The sonatas were composed by Nicolas Chédeville on the basis of fragments from works by various Italian composers.
Not all the sonatas included in the most complete catalogue of Vivaldi’s works by Peter Ryom can boast of pure origin. Over the course of time several of them have been transferred to the attached list of works with dubious origin.
This, however, did not happen to the Sonata in G major, RV 24, although on the pages of the catalogue Ryom expressed his doubts about its origin (without giving sufficient reasons, though). It is structured like many sonatas by Vivaldi: a placid prelude (Adagio) is followed by Allegro in the movement of allemande with the wide strokes on the violin characteristic to the Venetian Maestro, after which comes Adagio in a slow sarabande, all concluded by an Allegro movement.
The hand-written copy of the sonata is until today kept in the castle of Wiesentheid near Würzburg among the collection of count Rudolf Franz Erwein von Schönborn (1677−1754). The count himself was a passionate music-lover and an amateur cello-player. In the course of many years, he gathered a splendid collection of works for cello with orchestra, among them also pieces by Vivaldi that he acquired during the period of 1710−1714. However, it seems that he did not have any personal contact with the composer.
Surprising as it may seem, namely the cello part in Sonata RV 24 is one of the least expressive. Had Vivaldi specially dedicated the sonata for count Schönborn, he most probably would have composed quite a different part for basso continuo.
The authorship of Sonata in D minor, RV 13 is disputed by Johan Helmick Roman (1694−1758), one of the most productive Swedish composers of his time. He lived a long life composing in different styles and manners, writing tens of sonatas for various instruments like harpsichord, flute, violin, oboe. He was chosen by count Nikolaj Fedorovich Golovin (1695−1745), Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Sweden, to compose music for the coronation of Peter II.
A manuscript by an unknown hand indicating Roman as the author has been preserved until our days. Its structure as well as brightness, extravagance and violin technique are fully in Vivaldi’s lines. The contradiction to the authorship arises from the contemplative thematic connections between the quick movements. Those would allow to place the sonata in the 1740s when Roman composed his works for violin.
A whole musicological investigation lies behind the Sonata in D major, RV 785. At the beginning of the 1980s, Maurizio Grattoni discovered an incomplete copy of it in Udine and it was included in various catalogues as an unfinished work by Vivaldi. But in 2006, Nikolaus Delius found the same work in the collection of sonatas by Andrea Zani (1696−1757), published in Mantua, 1727. According to Delius, the publication of sonatas by Zani Op 1, chronologically preceded the hand-written copy found in Udine. The situation is made more complicated by the fact that in his youth Dzani was a keen follower and admirer of Vivaldi, copying his manner and style. Only later, he got rid of the strong influence of his senior colleague and started composing in a new contemporary style.
In his catalogue Peter Ryom lists five movements of the sonata (Largo or Adagio − Amoroso − Largo − Presto − Capricio). The current recording is based on the manuscript from 1753 kept in Stockholm. This version does not contain the fourth movement Presto.
Whoever the author of that music may be, it is exceptionally good. The first movement is an elevated skilfully composed polyphonic prelude followed by the tender and gallant second one. Largo is a dialogue of two instruments with remarkably original chromatic harmony. The culmination is in the Finale – Capriccio and twelve variations. The cascade of passages falling on the ears of the listener is divided equally between the violin and the bass displaying the virtuosity of the whole ensemble.
One of the last works completing the catalogue by Ryom is Sonata in C major, RV 809 for flute and basso continuo. Its copy with inscription “Del Sig, Vivaldi” has been preserved in Olbi in the collection of Rosenthal. However, Grigori Maltizov discovered the same work, only recorded in B-flat major, in the hand-written collection of twelve violin sonatas by Gaetano Meneghetti.
It is known about the violinist and organist Meneghetti that he was born in the 1690s and lived in Vicenza and that his son Giovanni (about 1730−1794), also a violinist and organist in Vicenza, left a legacy of a number of keyboard sonatas and violin concertos.
Gaetano Meneghetti’s sonatas have a lot in common with the ones by Vivaldi. However, they contain very telling features not characteristic of Vivaldi at all. All twelve are church sonatas in four movements without dance pieces (even with the finales in jig, the dance-like character is not accentuated). Unlike Vivaldi Meneghetti as an active organist, stubbornly follows punctuated rhythm and resorts time and again to polyphonic methods paying great attention to the versatility of harmony. The twelve sonatas are clearly composed by one and the same hand and not the one of Vivaldi.
In the 18th century all music lovers tried and cried in order to lay their hands on Vivaldi’s scores, hence the name of the Red Priest occasionally appears on the manuscripts of his lesser-known colleagues. It is interesting to note that they were all two decades younger than the Maestro and though being greatly influenced by him, in reality belonged to another generation altogether. Be it as it is, there is also a positive side to the false authorship: Vivaldi’s name helps to recover from the void of history works by composers whom otherwise no one would know of, but who nevertheless deserve our full attention.