Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741) was an Italian
Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher and
cleric. Born in Venice, he is recognized as one of the
greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during
his lifetime was widespread across Europe. He composed
many instrumental concertos, for the violin and a
variety of other instruments, as well as sacred choral
works and more than forty operas. His best-known work
is a series of violin concertos known as The Four
Many of his compositions were written for the
all-female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà,
a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi (who had
been ordained as a Catholic priest) was employed from
1703 to 1715 and from 1723 to 1740. Vivaldi also had
some success with expensive stagings of his operas in
Venice, Mantua and Vienna. After meeting the Emperor
Charles VI, Vivaldi moved to Vienna, hoping for
preferment. However, the Emperor died soon after
Vivaldi's arrival, and Vivaldi himself died, in
poverty, less than a year later.
A cello concerto (sometimes called a violoncello
concerto) is a concerto for solo cello with orchestra
or, very occasionally, smaller groups of instruments.
These pieces have been written since the Baroque era if
not earlier. However, unlike the violin, the cello had
to face harsh competition from the older,
well-established viola da gamba. As a result, few
important cello concertos were written before the 19th
century – with the notable exceptions of those by
Vivaldi, C.P.E. Bach, Haydn and Boccherini. Its full
recognition as a solo instrument came during the
Romantic era with the concertos of Schumann,
Saint-Saëns and Dvořák. From then on, cello
concertos have become more and more frequent.
Twentieth-century composers have made the cello a
standard concerto instrument, along with the
already-rooted piano and violin concertos; among the
most notable concertos of the first half of the century
are those of Elgar, Prokofiev, Barber and Hindemith.
Many post-World War II composers (Shostakovich, Walton,
Ligeti, Britten, Dutilleux, Lutoslawski and Penderecki
among others) have written at least one.
Although originally created for Cello & Baroque
Orchestra, I created this Arrangement of the Allegro
from the Cello Concerto in G Minor (RV 417 Mvt. 1) for
Cello & Strings (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).