Antonio Vivaldi

Concerto in D major


Recommended recording

Curated by Guy Jones, Head of Curation

About this work

One of four works composed by Vivaldi to feature the lute, RV 93 is a chamber concerto scored for solo strings and lute. During Vivaldi's lifetime, the lute was nearing the end of a long and distinguished career as a solo instrument, its final glory achieved in the suites of Bach and his fellow German, Silvius Weiss. The D major Concerto, along with the Trios for violin and lute in G minor, RV 63 and C major, RV 85 was composed in Bohemia during the 1730s. In this short, attractive three-movement work, Vivaldi exploits the instrument's timbres and ability to play arpeggios to appealing affect. It opens with an Allegro giusto whose ritornello contrasts a tuneful opening theme with a more lyrical motif in the minor mode. The soloist enters to the same material, which is worked out with typical alternation between soloists and strings. The central Largo is a reflective meditation by the soloist over sustained violin accompaniment and pizzicato bass, with an exquisitely simple shift from triple to duple meter, while the final Allegro brings a return to the high spirits of the first subject of the opening movement and has a bit of tarantella-like feel with its 6/8 rhythms. As with Vivaldi's other lute works, the concerto in D was not published during Vivaldi's lifetime. The autograph manuscript is preserved in the Biblioteca Nazionale, Turin.