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Concerto in A minor, RV108


Winds and brass were frequently required in Italy for important religious feast days (of which there were many) and as the eighteenth century wore on, so the players of these instruments were increasingly to be found on the payrolls of opera houses. Even so, lacking the town bands of the German peoples and the rich woodwind culture beloved of the French, it was unusual for an Italian such as Vivaldi to produce such a prodigious quantity of music for wind instruments. This was mainly due to his longstanding relationship with the Ospedale della Pietà, a Venetian foundling hospital which provided tuition and performance opportunities to a select group of female inmates. In addition to the standard continuo and string instruments of the time, the women of the Pietà also played the recorder, flute, oboe, chalumeau and clarinet and it was probably for a select group of these players that Vivaldi composed his concerto in A minor for recorder, two violins and continuo. This concerto is part of a group of around twenty ‘chamber concertos’ (i.e. concertos without orchestra) composed by Vivaldi.

from notes by Adrian Chandler © 2021


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