Violin Concerto

Antonio Vivaldi

Violin Concerto in G minor

Op. 12/1, RV317

About this work

In 1729 two sets of six concertos each by Vivaldi, the Opp. 11 and 12, were published in Amsterdam. This G minor effort, the first in the latter group, consists, like the others, of three short movements, with two colorful Allegros framing a lovely central Adagio. The concerto begins with a lively orchestral ritornello, after which the soloist enters to render the opening material in somewhat varied form. Thereafter the orchestra and soloist alternate, though when the latter takes the lead the former demurely supplies colorful accompaniment. The music is sunlit and busy throughout, while the writing offers a few good challenges to the soloist.

The second movement opens with a lovely introduction by the strings, wherein the sense of solemnity and melancholy immediately seize the listener. The soloist then enters with the songful, sad main theme, and while it turns a bit sweeter in the second subject, the resulting mood remains dark and heartrending throughout. The writing for the violin in this panel is consistently touching in its melting lyricism and nocturnal beauty. With the finale the music returns to the brighter world of the opening movement, but with a more hearty, festive character. After the energetic introduction by the strings the soloist enters with the same celebratory vigor, negotiating more than a few technical hurdles along the way. The orchestra and soloist by turns lead the playful proceedings to crown this concerto with a joyful sense of festivity.