Antonio Vivaldi was a concerto factory, writing more than 500 of them in his 60-odd years, the most famous of which are The Four Seasons, impressionistic portraits of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. For example, sitting by the warm fire on a wet, cold, thoroughly miserable winter’s day.
Most of his works are simpler and more standard: A jaunty melody introduced by the orchestra and then joined by the soloist(s), then a slow movement with both playing together, followed by an even jauntier finale. Always fun, sometimes memorable, occasionally indelible. Here’s one of my favorites, a concerto for guitar (or lute, or mandolin):
But this one is something else entirely. It grabs you by the throat and does not let go, even for a moment. Jaunty, hell. It’s furious.
JS Bach paid this piece the compliment of transcribing it, for four harpsichords. I think the original works better, but de gustibus.
Photo by Meredith Bell