Concerto for Strings and Continuo

Antonio Vivaldi

Concerto for Strings and Continuo in G major

RV151 • “Alla rustica”

About this work

Antonio Vivaldi's concerti without soloists are generally included among the antecedents of the Classical-period symphony. Probably written for highly skilled professional orchestras, these works, mostly written in a contrapuntal style, show what the orchestra can do when it is not in any way subordinated to a soloist. All of these features manifest themselves in the Concerto alla rustica for strings in G major, RV 151. Despite the idea of provincialism implied in the title, this work is a brilliant, sophisticated example of late-Baroque style. The first movement Presto is a virtuoso showpiece for Baroque orchestra, with a bouncy melody that never stops moving. However, the high spirits are quickly and dramatically countered by an unexpected juxtaposition of the same material in a fierce minor, which ends the movement. Ornamental runs from a solo violin decorate the simple melody of the brief Adagio that follows, while the final movement, in dance rhythm, has a busy cello line to support its graceful violin melody. In this exciting work, Vivaldi packs much musical content into a brief time interval.