About this Recording
2.110321 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - GENOA: A Musical Tour of the City (NTSC)
English 

A Musical Visit to Genoa
With music by Antonio Vivaldi

 

CHAPTER 1

Nervi: Villa Grimaldi

The name of Grimaldi has a long historical association with Genoa, where the Grimaldi held a powerful position. The Villa Grimaldi in Nervi, some seven miles from the centre of Genoa, dates from the seventeenth century, subject to restoration at various periods. It now houses an art collection. Nervi, a popular resort, has fine parks, from which are views of the sea.

Music Vivaldi: Oboe Concerto in F major, RV 455 – I. Allegro giusto

Antonio Vivaldi was born in 1678, studied for the priesthood and was ordained in 1703. At the same time he won a reputation for himself as a violinist of phenomenal ability and was appointed violin-master at the Ospedale della Pietà, a charitable institution, established for the education of orphan, indigent or illegitimate girls and boasting a particularly fine musical tradition. Vivaldi’s association with the Pietà continued intermittently throughout his life, from 1723 under a contract that provided for the composition of two new concertos every month. At the same time he enjoyed a connection with the theatre, as the composer of some fifty operas, director and manager. He finally left Venice in 1741, travelling to Vienna, where there seemed some possibility of furthering his career under imperial patronage. He died there a few weeks after his arrival in the city, in relative poverty. Many of his 500 or more concertos were written for solo violin, strings and continuo, and include some twenty for solo oboe. The Oboe Concerto in F major, RV 455, was written at some time between 1710 and 1717. From the note Sassonia on the score, it would seem that the concerto was performed at some time in Dresden, where
Vivaldi’s pupil Pisendel was employed.

CHAPTER 2

Nervi

The rocky coast-line at Nervi is the site of country villas and gardens, with views towards the coastal townships of Cinque Terre.

Music Vivaldi: Oboe Concerto in F major, RV 455 – II. Grave

The slow movement of the concerto offers an aria for oboe, lightly accompanied by violins, without the usual basso continuo of cello and harpsichord.

CHAPTER 3

 City of Genoa

From the hills above the city it is possible to have a panoramic view of the city of Genoa, ancient and modern.

Music Vivaldi: Oboe Concerto in F major, RV 455 – III. Allegro

The last movement of the concerto, in a triple metre 12/8, provides a lively conclusion.

CHAPTER 4

City of Genoa

The patron saint of Genoa is St George, whose cross and sculpted figure can be seen on the façade of the Palazzo di San Giorgio. Among many other historical buildings are the San Lorenzo Cathedral and the reconstructed Castello d’Albertis, now a museum.

Music Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in G minor, RV 317, Op 12, No 1 – I. Allegro

Vivaldi’s Concerto in G minor for violin, strings and basso continuo, RV 317, is the first of a group of six concertos published in 1729 by La Cène in Amsterdam, making, together with the preceding Op 11 set of six concertos, the expected dozen.

CHAPTER 5

Sunset

The sun sets over the sea and over the old port of Genoa.

Music Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in G minor, RV 317, Op 12, No 1 – II. Adagio

The slow movement consists of an aria for the solo violin.

CHAPTER 6

Castello d’Albertis

Reconstructed in the 19th century, the Castello d’Albertis, is a characteristic Ligurian fortress, now a museum. Built on the Monte Galletto, it provides panoramic views of Genoa.

Music Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in G minor, RV 317, Op 12, No 1 – III. Allegro

The concerto ends with a rapid final Allegro, the string orchestra supplying a framework for the solo episodes of the violinist.

CHAPTER 7

Nervi: Villas and Public Parks

At one time independent of Genoa, Nervi is now part of the municipality. It remains a pleasant resort, with its villas and gardens.

Music Vivaldi: Guitar Concerto in D major, RV 93 – I. Allegro

Vivaldi probably wrote his Lute Concerto in D major, RV 93, in 1730 or 1731, scoring it for solo lute, two violins and basso continuo. It is here transcribed for guitar and strings, with keyboard continuo.

CHAPTER 8

Camogli

Along the coast from Genoa lies the fishing port of Camogli, in earlier times a harbour of naval importance.

Music Vivaldi: Guitar Concerto in D major, RV 93 – II. Largo

The slow movement provides an aria for the soloist, the lute part transposed an octave lower than the original work.

CHAPTER 9

Camogli

The colourful buildings of Camogli meet the port itself, while above are grander villas, with their gardens.

Music Vivaldi: Guitar Concerto in D major, RV 93 – III. Allegro

The lively final movement is in the expected triple rhythm of 12/8. The original score, on paper of probable Bohemian origin, has what appears to be a dedication to Count Johann Joseph Witby, an imperial official of some importance in Prague. It has been suggested that the concerto was written during Vivaldi’s visit to Bohemia in 1730.

CHAPTER 10

Palazzo Commerciale

The Palazzo Commerciale has an impressive meeting-room, with gilded figures in relief, trompe l’oeil effects and paintings recalling figures in the glorious past of Genoa and from legend and myth.

Music Vivaldi: Concerto in B flat major for oboe, violin, strings and basso continuo, RV 548 – I. Allegro

Dated to between 1720 and 1724, Vivaldi’s Concerto in B flat major, RV 548, offers a form in which two solo instruments are used, a scoring that Bach also found of interest in a concerto for the same instruments.

CHAPTER 11

Town Hall

The Municipio of Genoa is housed in the Palazzo Tursi, a building dating in origin from the 16th century, with paintings that include representations of Christopher Columbus, a distinguished citizen of Genoa.

Music Vivaldi: Concerto in B flat major for oboe, violin, strings and basso continuo, RV 548 – II. Largo

The slow movement of the concerto is in the dotted rhythm of a Siciliano.

CHAPTER 12

Palazzo Rosso

The Palazzo Rosso (Red Palace) dates from the 17th century and displays frescoes representing mythical and historical figures, painted by Genoese artists.

Music Vivaldi: Concerto in B flat major for oboe, violin, strings and basso continuo, RV 548 – III. Allegro

The concerto ends with an opening figure that seems to break off, before resuming its course.

CHAPTER 13

Cathedral of San Lorenzo

The Cathedral of San Lorenzo (St Lawrence) was built originally in the 12th century, but was variously completed and then restored in the following centuries. Its interior ornamentation reflects the long history of the building, from the Romanesque to the Baroque.

Music Vivaldi: Trumpet Concerto in D minor, RV 454, Op 8, No 9 (transcribed by Jean Thilde) – I. Allegro

The Trumpet Concerto in D minor is transcribed for trumpet by Jean Thilde from the original Oboe Concerto, the ninth in Il Cimento dell’Armonia e dell’Invenzione (The Contest of Harmony and Invention), published in Amsterdam in 1725. Although the trumpet was occasionally used in music at the Ospedale della Pietà where Vivaldi was employed, he wrote no concertos for the instrument.

CHAPTER 14

Statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The city of Genoa has many statues in honour of the Blessed Virgin, whether on buildings, at street corners or in the exterior ornamentation of the many churches, in tondos, reliefs and sculpted figures.

Music Vivaldi: Trumpet Concerto in D minor, RV 454, Op 8, No 9 (transcribed by Jean Thilde) – II. Adagio

The concerto continues with a slow movement aria for the trumpet, lightly accompanied.

CHAPTER 15

City of Genoa

A final view of Genoa starts with La Lanterna, the medieval lighthouse that overlooks the harbour, a symbol of the city. The naval prowess of Genoa is recalled in a sailing ship, while a general view of the city from the sea shows the great buildings, palaces and fortifications, that reflect something of the history of the place.

Music Vivaldi: Trumpet Concerto in D minor, RV 454, Op 8, No 9 (transcribed by Jean Thilde) – III. Allegro

The final movement of the concerto provides a fitting conclusion that demonstrates, as always, Vivaldi’s powers of invention and ingenuity within the limits of his chosen form, a mark of true genius.

Keith Anderson

Recording

Famous Concerti’: Gabriela Krcková, Oboe; Juraj Cizmarovic, Violin; Jozef Zsapka, Guitar;
Jiří Pospíšil, Violin; Capella Istropolitana, cond. Jaroslav Krček [Naxos 8.550384]


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