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Vivaldi was known to have benefited from several great violinists where he worked, at the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice.
One in particular, by the name of Anna Maria, was the dedicatee of more than 30 of his 230 violin concertos. One suspects that his choices when it came to mandolin players were much more limited. He wrote only two works with mandolin in them and only one for the solo instrument. Having said that, the one he did write is one of the best concertos from his entire output.
It comes from a vintage Vivaldi year, 1725, when he would have been forty-seven. In the same twelve-month period, he also produced The Four Seasons. Although they were written for the Ospedale della Pietà, they were done so in a slightly unusual way. With his stock high, Vivaldi had embarked on a series of travels, overseeing old works and pitching for new ones. It was during this time that the Pietà commissioned him to supply a massive number of new pieces by post. Nice work, if you can get it.
Ugo Orlandi (mandolin); I Solisti Veneti (orchestra); Claudio Scimone (conductor). Apex: 2564612642.
Illustration: Mark Millington