EARLY ITALIAN VIOLONCELLO
Played by JULIETTE ALVIN
IN the early eighteenth century
Vivaldi was a leading figure in the Italian world of music, and both as violinist and as composer for the church he left his mark on the music of a good many generations to tome. For many years he was in charge of the music at one
,_of the four great schools which gave Venice of that day a pre
. eminent place in Europe. The pupils were aU religious novices and the choir and orchestra in each was composed entirely of girls. Dr. Burney, in one of his letters from Venice, writes of such a school as ' nightingales who poured balm into my wounded ears.'
Vivaldi's music was counted as of such importance that the great Bach himself studied it thoroughly and transcribed no fewer than sixteen of his concertos for pianoforte and four for organ, besides the one which he rearranged as a great piece for four pianofortes and strings.
None of his music was actually written for solo violoncello. Indeed, the violoncello had not then begun to be regarded as a possible solo instrument, being still merely bass voice in the orchestra or in chamber music. It was not until much later that the skill of performers advanced to such a pitch as to make the playing of effective solos possible and so to induce composers to write them. The piece by Vivaldi to be played now is thus an arrangement or transcription, but, as listeners will hoar, there is nothing in the music itself to suggest that Vivaldi wrote it originally for any other instrument.
FOR his eighth series of talks on ' Music and the Ordinary
Listener ' Sir Walford is breaking fresh ground. Twelve little-known and seldom heard Overtures by Handel will be analyzed at the piano and then played over on the harpsichord. The old contemporary ' out- line ' version of these overtures will be used-so that the listener may more readily follow the melodic line and see the simple harmonic basis on which Handel worked.
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