None of Pergolesi’s instrumental music, much of it now known to be of doubtful authenticity, reaches the inspirational level of the Stabat Mater
or La serva padrona
. Yet the genuine products of his pen, among which we should probably count the Violin Concerto in B flat, are full of rococo airiness and the melodic allure for which Neapolitan music was celebrated. It is certainly one of Pergolesi’s most impressive instrumental works and may have been commissioned by Neapolitan nobility. Pergolesi was a virtuoso violinist whose brilliance as a performer has been confirmed by contemporary report; so we may imagine, perhaps, that he played this idiomatically written piece himself. While the two outer movements, with their contrasting dynamics and ‘galant’ gestures, hint at the newly emerging early symphonic style, the melancholy, lyrical, aria-like Siciliano
in G minor is redolent of the theatre.
from notes by Nicholas Anderson © 2001