“Il Giardino Armonico”, the Italian early music ensemble plays Antonio Vivaldi’s Piccolo Concerto in C major, RV 443. Giovanni Antonini, sopranino recorder & conductor.

The concerto is in 3 movements:

I: [Allegro]
II: Largo
III: Allegro molto

Composition Year: 1728-29. Details about the composition and the first performance of this concerto are unknown. The concerto is scored for piccolo, and string orchestra supported by a continuo harpsichord.

Vivaldi’s flautino was a recorder, probably the high-pitched sopranino recorder. The piccolo, which is the equivalent member of the family of transverse flutes, only came into existence around 1730.

The concerto opens in triple time with an orchestral passage, the piccolo doubling the melody. This passage will return to punctuate the piccolo’s solo sections, in which the instrument is put through paces of extreme virtuosity (notably rapid rolled chords and wide jumps of intervals) while the orchestra recedes to the role of accompanist.

Vivaldi’s second movements often display his most memorable work. This concerto stands as a case in point. Where the outer movements dazzle through virtuosity, this central largo, lyrical and rather mournful, achieves genuine poignancy. Technical demands return in the finale, as the piccolo’s solo interludes again focus on quick figuration, including a couple of pages of almost unbelievably rapid triplets.


  • Vivaldi: Concerto In C Major For Piccolo, Strings, and Continuo, Rv. 443 on sfsymphony.org

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