Concerto in D major for violin, strings and continuo RV208 ‘Grosso Mogul’

Composer: Antonio Vivaldi (b. 1678 - d. 1741)
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Composer: Antonio Vivaldi (b. 1678 - d. 1741)

Performance date: 30/06/2010

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: early 1710s

Duration: 00:13:16

Recording Engineer: Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Small Mixed Ensemble

Instrumentation Other: 3vn, va, vc, db, hpd

Artists: Malcolm Proud - [harpsichord]
Sarah Halpin - [double bass]
Sarah McMahon - [cello]
Rebecca Jones - [viola]
Mihaela Girardi - [violin]
Sarah Sexton - [violin]
Pekka Kuusisto - [violin]

Concerto in D major for violin, strings and continuo RV208 ‘Grosso Mogul’

Towards the end, Vivaldi played a solo accompaniment – splendid –
to which he appended a cadenza which really frightened me, for such playing has
never been and never can be: he brought his fingers up to only a straw’s distance
from the bridge, leaving no room for the bow – and that on all four strings
with imitations and incredible speed. 
Uffenbach, 1712, on
hearing Vivaldi playing at Teatro Sant’Angelo

This astounding, technically challenging and
celebratory concerto with its bariolage, its central recitative, its
flights of imagination also contains the first known examples of violin
cadenzas in the history of music. First performed in a church, this concerto
gives some idea of the theatrical atmosphere that reigned in Italian places of
worship and attracted great crowds – the cadenza in the finale must have
created an uproar.

The evocative title is of unknown
origin but it could refer to the great empire of India governed by the dynasty
of Mughal princes. Venetian arms had recently triumphed over the Turks thus the
martial nature of the opening movement. In order to underline the celebratory
character of this extraordinary concerto, it contains two bravura cadenzas
replete with all the difficulties that brought Vivaldi fame as a violinist. The
dramatic central Recitativo is unmistably inspired by gypsy
style, another connection with the sound-world of the oriental civilisations
that appear throughout this stunning display of virtuosity.