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The Consort

Peter Trevelyan

Summer 2008, Vol 64

Antonio Vivaldi
Concerto in D major RV224 for violin solo strings and continuo

Edition HH053.FSC, Bicester, 2007
(pbk 12.95)
ISMN 979 0 708059 09 7
available from Schott & Co.

This is an attractively presented, A4-size full score. The scholarly introduction of 12 pages, in both English and German, sets out in its opening sentence the rationale for this new edition - Vivaldi composed two alternative slow movements, both of which are here published together. The score itself is admirably presented and accurate. One might quibble about the absence of figures in the bass part, but the editor explains that the sources are almost completely unfigured. In reality, of course, the harmonic language is not challenging!

The concerto is in three movements: Allegro, Largo, Allegro. Neither the solo in part, nor the orchestral parts are taxing. and the piece would be quite suitable for performance by beginner strings (Grade 3 and upward) with a competent violinist director. The absence of a realised continuo line, however, might limit its appeal. Nor is it clear whether parts are available.

As the editor notes, for his slow movements, Vivaldi commonly resorts to one of two alternative methods of accompanying the solo line: either (a) a string accompaniment alone, or (b) string bass and keyboard continuo. Both are represented here. The B minor version (a) is fully scored for strings, with a solo part in which the embellishments and flourishes are written out in full. The A major alternative (b) consists of a solo violin line, in which the mostly simple crotchet solo melody is an invitation to embellishment, accompanied by a rather curious, awkward dotted-rhythm basso continuo line.

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