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It must have been an amazing day for the music registrar at the library in Turin.
In 1926, a party from the local Salesian community – a mission of priests founded by St John Bosco in nearby Monferrato – knocked on the door to check on the value of their collection of manuscripts. As a charitable brotherhood, they had inherited the collection from the family of one count Giacomo Durazzo, a famous arts patron. They now needed money to fund some much needed renovations to their buildings. As a result of their questions, the library in Turin contacted Durazzo’s descendants in Genoa, too. Soon, hundreds of previously unknown Vivaldi manuscripts were uncovered, now known as the 'Mauro Foa' and 'Renzo Giordano' collections. Among the dazzling jewels in this collection is this double concerto for two mandolins, which quickly became a twentieth-century favourite, a pleasure that had been denied to music-lovers of the preceding two hundred years. An astounding story, but at least one with a happy ending. Now, numerous Vivaldi works take their rightful place in the classical world.
James Tyler (mandolin); Robin Jeffrey (mandolin); English Concert; Trevor Pinnock (conductor). Archiv: 4473012.
Illustration: Mark Millington