Concerto in A Minor, 3rd Movement, Vivaldi – Part 1

Antonio Vivaldi’s music is instantly recognizable and easily differentiated from his composer contemporaries, coloured with his unique Venetian flamboyance and flair. The 3rd movement of the Concerto in A Minor is written in his trademark lively style, more of a challenge to learn and play than the 1st movement, for two reasons: firstly it’s a little quicker – Presto; and secondly, there’s a tricky arpeggio section on page 2 (bars 75-90). What’s new here, technically speaking? This piece makes good use of 2nd position and features harmonics – neither exactly new to Book IV players, but common hereafter. And there’s an interesting twist to the story of that arpeggio section.

Students like the fact that the 3rd movement is just one of three parts of a whole piece of music, to be performed at one time. Knowing a seven page piece is an impressive achievement. When I joke, “Volumes IX and X are easy books: only one piece each,” they always ask, “How many pages do they have?

The energetic character of the music is clear from the beginning: vigorous bow strokes – staccato and martellato (hammered).

Main Study Points

  • A descending shift through 3rd and 2nd positions – bars 16-18 (intonation);
  • The run up to the harmonic E (harmonics);
  • High 3rd position – bars 58-60 (intonation);
  • An arpeggio section – bars 75-90 (memorizing, shifting, string crossing)

I’ll take these points one at a time: Read More →

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