Double Oboe Concerto

Antonio Vivaldi

Double Oboe Concerto in D minor


About this work

Vivaldi wrote three concertos for two oboes and strings, in addition to the more than 20 he produced for solo oboe and strings. Around 1715 he composed a number of oboe concertos and it is likely that this D minor effort, the second of the three for two oboes, dates to that time or to the following decade. In any event, it is cast in three movements and, like most of the solo and double oboe concertos, lasts about eight or nine minutes.

The first movement begins with a Largo introduction, played by strings and continuo. The mood is stately and somber, though the tempo sounds a bit livelier than the Largo marking would normally suggest. The oboes then enter with a lively Allegro theme, ushering in a sense of joy and playfulness. Spirited exchanges between the soloists and strings fill out the remainder of the movement, with the orchestra echoing most of the oboe pair's chipper music.

The second movement is marked Largo, the oboes not playing in unison here, as one answers the other in delivering the lovely main theme and subsidiary material. Only the solo cello and continuo contribute accompaniment in this dreamy two-minute panel. The Allegro molto finale begins with a lively introduction by the strings and continuo, but the pulse suddenly slackens and the music comes to a halt after a dour trill. The lively tempo resumes, however, and the oboes enter, reinforcing the sense of joy and busyness, and bringing along some interesting contrapuntal exchanges. The remainder of the movement, but for a later repeat of the slowdown, is lively and high-spirited.