You see, they weren’t
In Vivaldi’s handwriting,
But the style was his.
Who knows what wonders
Remain to be found in some
The earliest work of Antonio Vivaldi has been found in a library in Dresden, Germany. Co-discoverer Javier Lupiáñez was examining 72 anonymous sonatas in the library’s archives when he realized that one of them might have been written by Vivaldi. A watermark revealed that the manuscript of RV 820 (Trio sonata for violin and cello in G Major) came from Ansbach, where one of Vivaldi’s teachers, Giuseppe Torelli, lived. Researchers had not recognized it previously as being Vivaldi’s because it was written out by Johann Georg Pisendel, a friend of Vivaldi’s. It is believed the work dates to around 1700, when Vivaldi was only 23. A violin solo, in particular, had a distinctive Vivaldi technique unknown in the works of Corelli. Lupiáñez is recognized as a co-discoverer of RV 820 with Federico Maria Sardelli.1 Sardelli discovered the work when he “stumbled by chance across one of the many anonymous manuscripts that his wife Bettina, also a musician, had gathered across Europe” and recognized the handwriting.2 You can see RV 820 here.
Javier Lupiáñez is acknowledged as the sole discoverer of RV 205/2 (Sonata for violin in A Major).1
Those keen on reading more on the discovery can read Lupiáñez’s paper on the new Vivaldi discoveries (once you set up a free account at academia.edu you can download the paper for reading). A shorter description can be found here.
This is not the first time new music from Vivaldi has come to light. In 2012 an alternate score of Orlando Furioso was found. While the best-known version is from 1727, a new score was found that was dated 1714.3 The history of Vivaldi discoveries can be explored here. A description of recent Vivaldi discoveries can be found here.
The co-discoverer of RV 820, Federico Maria Sardelli, who is in charge of updating the RV catalog of Vivaldi’s works, believes there is still much to be found. “There was a complete Vivaldi silence for almost 200 years, which is very frustrating and very exciting at the same time because there is constantly a possibility of making new discoveries…Vivaldi’s body of work is like an erupting volcano.”2
Concerti con molten strumenti?
- Unsigned article, “Hallan la primera sonata de Vivaldi en una biblioteca,” El Universal, 24 September 2016. Electronic version, http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/articulo/cultura/musica/2016/09/24/hallan-la-primera-sonata-de-vivaldi-en-una-biblioteca
- Cataldi, Benedetto, “World Premiere of Vivaldi’s Earliest Known Work,” BBC News, 7 February 2015. Electronic version, http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-31146354
- Alberge, Dalya, “Vivaldi’s Lost Masterpiece is Found in Library Archives,” The Guardian, 14 July 2012. Electronic version, https://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/jul/15/orlando-furioso-vivaldi-1714-version
Image attribution: Antonio Vivaldi by unknown painter, via http://www.scaramucciaensemble.com/en/new-discoveries-vivaldi-little-video/. Apparently, the standard portrait of Vivaldi may not be him. This was discovered in research by François Farges and Michel Ducastel-Delacroix, cited at http://www.scaramucciaensemble.com/en/new-discoveries-vivaldi-little-video/.