Programme Guide

Even during his lifetime, Antonio Vivaldi, who refined Arcangelo Corelli’s concerto grosso with a palette of colours never before known to the “concerto con molti stromenti”, was acclaimed in Italy as a virtuoso, an experimental composer and a successful opera entrepreneur. An excellent opportunity to make his creative work known outside of the country came about in 1716, when Prince Elector Frederick August II of Saxony visited Venice together with several musicians from his Dresden court orchestra.

The orchestra was famous throughout Europe, and its concertmaster Johann Georg Pisendel became Vivaldi’s pupil and friend. He would later disseminate his music around the world via the Dresden “hub” – works such as the Concerto for solo violin, solo violoncello, two oboes, two horns, bassoon, strings and basso continuo RV 569 and the Concerto in G minor for solo violin, solo oboe, two recorders, two oboes, bassoon, strings and basso continuo RV 576, which originated exclusively for the Dresden ensemble of virtuosi.

That Vivaldi not only broke new ground with more fully scored solo concerti became known only at the end of the 1930’s when an extensive collection of vocal works was rediscovered that by that time had been completely forgotten. The “Gloria” in D major was probably the most significant sacred choral work of the Venetian master – a brilliant composition with alto and soprano soli, composed for a performance at Vivaldi’s sphere of activity for many years, the Ospedale della Pietà.

With these concerts, the Berliner Philharmoniker prove yet again in this season that historically informed practice has long since found its way into modern symphony orchestras; for this, they have invited the Italian baroque specialist Andrea Marcon to conduct them.

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