Classical musicians will be interested to learn that two previously unknown violin sonatas by Antonio Vivaldi have been unearthed in the UK. The works were discovered after lying hidden in a 180-page portfolio (which was donated to the Foundling Museum) for around 270 years.
Based upon their relatively simple structure and technical demands, experts believe that the two pieces were originally intended to be for amateur musicians. And one of the rediscovered compositions is to be performed at Liverpool Hope University on Sunday. The university revealed that it is likely to be its first airing in the modern era.
The anthology of manuscripts, where both works were found, was compiled between 1715 and 1725, with Vivaldi’s sonatas filed alongside works by Handel, Corelli and Purcell. Although, the sonatas were credited to Vivaldi in the anthology, they only became known to experts after being catalogued by the Foundling Museum.
“From their relatively simple technical demands, it appears the two sonatas were written by Vivaldi for amateurs,” he said. “These days when online catalogues make life so easy for the musicologist, discovery often merely means investigating an item briefly described, with the composer identified by a cataloguer but not yet noticed by other scholars.”
The Italian composer, best known for The Four Seasons, was a prolific writer who penned almost 50 operas, more than 500 concertos and around 90 sonatas.
Meanwhile, another long-lost Vivaldi opera is set to premiere in the US this weekend and the man who will be conducting the debut explained to the Houston Chronicle why there is a renewed interest in ‘lost’ works.
“Once the research was begun and musicians got their hands on some of these works, the beauty of the music generated enthusiasm, which increased the incentive to find more lost works,” artistic director and conductor Antoine Plante, said. “It’s exciting for us because we have an ever-growing library to perform and an audience hungry to hear them.”
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