Vivaldi's Basson Cocerto in Em

Brief contextual overview and important features of each section

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  • Created by: ellie g
  • Created on: 19-05-12 16:29


Written for L'ospidale della pieta a school and orphanage for illegitimate girls of lords and high class people where Vivaldi worked

He wrote concerts for the girls who played music to perform for lords, ladys and noble men

he was also called the red priest

the basson concerto was probably written for a virtuoso bassoonist that he taught.


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Ritornello 1 - Em

Episode 1 - Em

Ritornello 2 - Bm

Episode 2 - Em

Ritornello 3 - Am - Bmaj- Em

Episode 3 Em

Ritornello 4 - Em

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Ritornello 1

Acciaccatura melody introduced 

acciaccaturas replaced by demisemi quavers on repeat causing the notes to become harmonic instead of dissonant

homophonic accompainment - harpsichord plays harmonic rhythms

Bassoon plays quaver broken chords

double stopping and triple stopping add emphasis to the loud Em chord followed by a descending steccato scale

second idea introduced of loud chord followed by a contrasting steccato scale 

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Solo Episode 1

Texture reduced to bassoon and Harpsichord

based on first idea to begin

begins with first idea's arpeggio scales from the accompaniment

arpeggios are played in closed formation causing the notes of the triad to sound as a broken chord

Second idea introduced playing over chords Bm, Am Em 1st inversion and Em

accompaniment plays arpeggios underneath

Violins answer bassoon with triadic patterns in harmony with no slurred bowing

Bassoon states opening theme spanning 2 octaves reaching a low E

descending sequence induces a cricle of fiths driving the piece forward

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Ritornello 2

Shortest Ritornello


Violins II play theme A in dominant key

allows soloist to return to the episode as soon as possible

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Episode 2

Very Virtuosic

Basso Continuo more varied


Virtuosic features are

  • Wide leaps (upto double octaves)
  • sustained phrasing
  • fast descending scales
  • ornamentation, trills and auxilery notes or inverted auxilery notes
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Ritornello 3

Am - Bmaj - Em

violin 2 theme in Am reverting to Em

unison material used

Change to B maj makes presence of Em more dramatic

cadential material into Em leading to next solo section

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Solo Episode 3

Longest Solo

addition of an undulating quaver pattern

basso continuo used only as accompaniment

mostly in tenor or bass range, when basson plays in the bass range they play with the bass

Broken chords in violins induce circle of fiths

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Ritornello 4


Repeat of material but no restatement of main theme

an echo from f - p -f is played

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