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8.550648 - VIVALDI: Pastor Fido (Il), Op. 13, Nos. 1-6

Antonio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741)
Il Pastor Fido, Op. 13

Once virtually forgotten, Antonio Vivaldi now enjoys a reputation that equals the international fame he enjoyed in his heyday. Born in Venice in 1678, the son of a barber who was himself to win distinction as a violinist in the service of the great Gabrielis and Monteverdi at the basilica of San Marco, he studied for the priesthood and was ordained in 1703. At the same time he established himself as a violinist of remarkable ability. A later visitor to Venice described his playing in the opera-house in 1715, his use of high positions so that his fingers almost touched the bridge of the violin, leaving little room for the bow, and his contrapuntal cadenza, a fugue played at great speed. The experience, the observer added, was too artificial to be enjoyable. Nevertheless Vivaldi was among the most famous virtuosi of the day, as well as being a prolific composer of music that won wide favour at home and abroad and exercised a far-reaching influence on the music of others. For this reason his name became a guarantee of quality, particularly after the great success of The Four Seasons.

Il Pastor Fido, one of the most popular works attributed to Vivaldi, is of doubtful authorship, although it contains identifiable borrowings from Vivaldi and contemporary Italian composers. Not unnaturally, no manuscript of the six sonatas survives, and modern editions are derived from two surviving copies printed in Paris in 1737, with the title "Il Pastor Fido", Sonates pour la Musette, Viele, FIûte. Hautbois, Violon Avec la Basse Continue dei Sig' Antonio Vivaldi opera XIII. The edition is dated 17th April 1737 and the surviving copies are in the Bavarian State Library and in the library at Arles. Doubt is cast on the authenticity of the six sonatas, whatever their merits, by the suggested instrumentation, which includes the fashionable French musette (shepherd bagpipe) and vielle (hurdy-gurdy), instruments now obsolete, at least in music of this kind. The publication, by Jean-Noel Marchand, a French musician, was part of the attempt to profit from the popularity of Italian music, without infringing the royal monopoly of publication granted to others, notably, in this case, to the Le Clerc brothers. A plausible case has been made for Nicolas Chédeville as the composer of Il Pastor Fido, a musician to whom the work was attributed in a document of 1749. The case for Chédeville must rest chiefly on his pre-eminence as a composer for the musette and the hurdy-gurdy (vielle a roue). He was described in contemporary sources as the master of the musette for the ladies of France.

Whatever their authorship, the sonatas of Il Pastor Fido contain attractive music, with varied dance movements. In particular the fourth sonata contains a typical Pastorale, a version of the Siciliana generally associated with shepherds, whether at Bethlehem or elsewhere, here with an added solo cello. The final sonata, the only one of the set in a minor key, contains a fugue with two voices, the bass figuring allowing the addition of chordal harmony from the keyboard instrument.

Béla Drahos
Béla Drahos was born in Kaposvar in South-West Hungary in 1955 and entered the Györ Conservatory in 1969, winning first prize in the Concertino Prague '71 International Flute Competition and a year later in the flute competition staged by Hungarian Television. Study at the Liszt Academy in Budapest led to graduation with distinction In 1978, after a further award in Prague and in 1979 at the Bratislava Interpodium, and further distinction, including the Hungarian Liszt Prize in 1985, selection as Artist of the Year in Hungary in 1986 and the Bartók-Pasztory Prize in 1988. Béla Drahos is the leader and founding member of the Hungarian Radio Wind Quintet and since 1976 has served as Principal Flautist of the Budapest Symphony Orchestra. His concert career has included performances throughout Europe and as far afield as New Zealand.

Pál Kelemen
The Hungarian cellist Pál Kelemen was born in 1945, completing his studies at the Liszt Academy in 1970. He had started his career in 1968 in the orchestra of the Hungarian State Opera, in 1970 joining the Liszt Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble with which he has travelled widely and played in some 200 recordings.

Zsuzsa Pertis
The Hungarian keyboard-player Zsuzsa Pertis was a piano pupil of Pál Kadosa at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, proceeding thereafter to the Vienna Academy. where she studied the harpsichord under Isolde Ahlgrimm, graduating with distinction in 1969, a year after winning second prize in the Bruges International Harpsichord Competition. Since 1969 she has been professor of harpsichord at the Liszt Academy and is a member of the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra. She has performed in the major cities of Europe and with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra abroad and at home in the concert-hall and the recording studio.

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