Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) started playing the violin
in his early years. He started studying to become a
priest when he was 15 and was ordained in 1703 at the
age of 25. In September 1703 Vivaldi became a violin
teacher at an orphanage where he started writing
concertos and sacred vocal music for the oprhans. Later
on he became responsible for all the musical activity
of the institution. Around 1717 Vivaldi was offered a
new position as Maestro di Cappella (in charge of music
in a chapel) of the governor of Mantua. During this
period Vivaldi wrote his famous four violin concertos
the Four seasons.
Antonio Vivaldi's concertos cut a revolutionary swath
through the more fustian rituals of high Baroque music
in much the way that minimalism gutted academic
serialism 250 years later. They standardized the
fast-slow-fast movement scheme that has survived as the
classic concerto pattern, and developed the ritornello
form (in which a refrain for the ensemble alternates
with free episodes for the soloist), using it as a
vehicle for thematic integration and elaboration.
Vivaldi's 500-plus concertos were athletic
entertainments that swept continental Europe,
influencing not only younger composers, but causing a
wave of stylistic conversion in older ones.
Vivaldi wrote this "Concerto per Flautino" sometime
between 1728 and 1729 and although there is not a
reliable evidence that the frontispiece information
"Concerto per Flautino" means the sopranino recorder
(in 'F') as a soloist. The Italian term flautino means
simply a "small flute". There is however, a written
instruction "Gl'istromti trasportati alla 4a" ("The
instruments transposed a fourth"), witch corroborate
which the conjecture that this concert was written for
a soprano recorder (in 'C'), the standard transposition
for recorder in 18th century, where the recorder player
needs to read the recorder part like playing with an
alto recorder in 'F'.
This arrangement was created for Solo Viola & String
Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).