Double Concerto

Antonio Vivaldi

Double Concerto in Bb major


About this work

Although the violin usually takes the lead in establishing themes and suggesting the course of action, the cello is a full partner in this concerto; indeed, it often plays exactly the same material as the violin, transposed down into its more comfortable range.

The first movement, Allegro moderato, features arresting, upward-swooping gestures for the orchestral violins in the opening ripieno section. The violin and cello enter with material only minimally related to what has been introduced; the stronger connection is in the chugging rhythm both sections share. This pattern holds true through the movement, with the orchestra periodically returning with its striking gesture, the soloists continuing on their own way, with the violin seeming to dominate the solo passages mainly through the natural brightness of its timbre, even when the cello is essentially playing in unison with it. The Andante makes minimal use of the orchestra, which provides quiet support for the serene phrases exchanged by the soloists. The last movement, Allegro molto, is propelled by a pulsating orchestral rhythm, which sends the soloists flying off in florid passagework, one after the other.