Sheet music for Strings

Piccolo Concerto (Opus 44, No. 11, RV 443) for Piccolo & Strings
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Piccolo Concerto (Opus 44, No. 11, RV 443) for Piccolo & Strings

7 parts33 pages10:186 years ago11,817 views
Piccolo, Strings(5), Harpsichord
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) started playing the violin in his early years. He started studying to become a priest when he was 15 and was ordained in 1703 at the age of 25. In September 1703 Vivaldi became a violin teacher at an orphanage where he started writing concertos and sacred vocal music for the oprhans. Later on he became responsible for all the musical activity of the institution. Around 1717 Vivaldi was offered a new position as Maestro di Cappella (in charge of music in a chapel) of the governor of Mantua. During this period Vivaldi wrote his famous four violin concertos the Four seasons.

Antonio Vivaldi's concertos cut a revolutionary swath through the more fustian rituals of high Baroque music in much the way that minimalism gutted academic serialism 250 years later. They standardized the fast-slow-fast movement scheme that has survived as the classic concerto pattern, and developed the ritornello form (in which a refrain for the ensemble alternates with free episodes for the soloist), using it as a vehicle for thematic integration and elaboration. Vivaldi's 500-plus concertos were athletic entertainments that swept continental Europe, influencing not only younger composers, but causing a wave of stylistic conversion in older ones.

Vivaldi wrote this "Concerto per Flautino" sometime between 1728 and 1729 and although there is not a reliable evidence that the frontispiece information "Concerto per Flautino" means the sopranino recorder (in 'F') as a soloist. The Italian term flautino means simply a "small flute". There is however, a written instruction "Gl'istromti trasportati alla 4a" ("The instruments transposed a fourth"), witch corroborate which the conjecture that this concert was written for a soprano recorder (in 'C'), the standard transposition for recorder in 18th century, where the recorder player needs to read the recorder part like playing with an alto recorder in 'F'.

This arrangement was created for solo Piccolo and String Ensemble (Violins, Viola, Cello & String Bass).

Corelli Concerto Grosso op. 6 n. 8

7 parts24 pages13:563 years ago3,871 views
Violin(2), Cello, Strings(4)
The well known "Fatto per la notte di Natale" (Christmas Concerto) by Arcangelo Corelli.
I think this is the original version though I've seen another "original" with basso continuo (harpsichord).
1st Mov. - Vivace, Grave
2nd Mov. - Allegro
3rd Mov. - Adagio, Allegro, Adagio
4th Mov. - Vivace
5th Mov. - Allegro
6th Mov. - Pastorale ad libitum (Largo)
Though I've inputted notes mostly from a version on paper, I also had the benefit of using MuseScore version from others, namely the excellent one by Mike Magatagan.

Violin Concerto in D Major (RV 204 Op. 4 No. 11) for String Quartet

4 parts17 pages06:144 years ago4,832 views
Violin, Strings(3)
Although Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) had already accomplished himself as a composer of violin sonatas and of sacred music, nothing propelled his career more than his first set of concertos -- L'estro armonico (Op.3) -- which first appeared in 1711. Besides being widely popular with both musicians and audiences of the day, L'estro armonico had a significant impact on the development of the relatively new solo-concerto. The set's influence was felt all across Europe -- no less a figure than J.S. Bach transcribed six of the Op.3 concertos for keyboard.

La Stravaganza (Op. 4) appeared shortly after, in around 1713, and was dedicated to Vettor Dolfin (the surname given in its Tuscan form, Delfino), a young Venetian noble to whom Vivaldi had taught the violin. While enormously successful in it's own right, this set of twelve concertos was a complete departure from Op.3. While the influence of the Corellian concerto grosso had been significant in L'estro armonico, in La Stravaganza Vivaldi severed himself completely from past traditions. The Op.4 set is characterized by harmonic daring, passage work bordering on the bizarre, and a new, uniquely flexible, solo-concerto "form" that would become so typical of Vivaldi. The originality and variety of material is also noteworthy; each work seems to systematically refute a different aspect of the traditional concerto, and even some standards of composition at the time. All this is not without its own sense of musical humor. However, the set also demonstrates the care the composer took over the selection and grouping of works destined for publication; i.e. grouping the concertos into pairs -- one major, one minor -- with an adjustment made to ensure that the whole set ends in major.

The Op.4 concertos are the earliest examples of a theatri al conception of the solo concerto to be offered to international audiences of music lovers. This, even more than Vivaldi's daring writing for the solo violin, is the true significance of the word stravaganza in the title. Indeed, among Vivaldi's printed works, the road to the future is marked by the Stravaganza concerti rather than those of L'estro armonico. Vivaldi would never retrace his steps in the direction of Op.3, and the collections which followed Op.4 further develop the concept of the instrumental solo as outlined in Op.4.

This Concerto in D Major for violin (RV 204 Op. 4 No. 11), is eleventh in the Op.4 set and although originally scored for Violin and Strings (2 Violins, Viola, Cello, Bass & Continuo), I created this arrangement for String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).

Violin Concerto in E Major (RV 263 Op. 9 No. 4) for String Quartet

4 parts22 pages10:104 years ago3,529 views
Violin, Strings(3)
Although Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) had already accomplished himself as a composer of violin sonatas and of sacred music, nothing propelled his career more than his first set of concertos -- L'estro armonico (Op.3) -- which first appeared in 1711. Besides being widely popular with both musicians and audiences of the day, L'estro armonico had a significant impact on the development of the relatively new solo-concerto. The set's influence was felt all across Europe -- no less a figure than J.S. Bach transcribed six of the Op.3 concertos for keyboard.


La cetra, Op. 9, is a set of twelve violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi, published in 1727. All of them are for violin solo, strings, and basso continuo, except No. 9 in B flat, which features two solo violins. The set was named after the cetra, a lyre-like instrument, and was dedicated to Emperor Charles VI. La Cetra may not be as well known or as frequently recorded as either Vivaldi's Op. 8 (including the Four Seasons) or Op. 3, L'Estro Armonico, but it is well worth having in your collection. These twelve concertos offer a great deal of rewarding music: beautiful serenades, haunting largos, and even an occasional melody borrowed from the Seasons, fitted out with a striking new accompaniment. In La Cetra, Vivaldi frequently achieves a new level of expressiveness combined with virtuosity which helped pave the way for devilish exploits of Paganini. With a performance as frankly romantic as I Musici's, it's easy to make the connection between these two Italian giants.

I created this transcription of the Violin Concerto in E Major (RV 263 Op. 9 No. 4) for String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).

Fantaisie ≈ Valse

1 part4 pages026 years ago3,347 views
Strings
Walking through the streets of Paris a hundred years ago, Erik Satie could not have looked more normal in his black bowler hat and tie. But Mr. Satie was dreaming of music no one had heard before – music like ancient chants and modern circus tunes rolled into one. A friend of poets, puppeteers, magicians, great painters like Picasso, and the Surrealists, Satie was at the center of a world where sense was nonsense, and the imagination ruled supreme.

rik Satie's first great piano period dates back to his youth and his first time spent in Montmartre. During these years he wrote some 20 piano pieces, five songs, some sketches for string quartet, theatre music for Joséphin Péladan and a little orchestral piece, later re-used as the penultimate movement in Trois morceaux en forme de poire for piano duet.

Among the first works by young Satie to be published were two salon-waltzes printed as supplements in his father's publication La musiques des familles on March 17th and July 28th of 1887. The first appended with the curious numbering "Opus 62" (!), and the second with the following introduction:

"Today we publish a charming Fantaisie-valse for piano by Erik Satie. This work by a very young musician is elegant in structure and gracious in rhythm, without dryness. All the author's works, amongst which we will mention Three Melodies, indicate a propensity for reverie and a tendency to move away from the strict laws of symmetrical rhythm."

The rather trivial, frequently-repeated phrases and the bassnotes around the basic chords are typical of the style of the simple salon music of the day.

At the same time, it can be noted that Satie - conciously or not - managed to avoid the sentimentality to the style. Instead, both waltzes have traits of timeless simplicity. Perhaps, even, something of the starkness one usually associates with the Gymnopédies.

"O'Carolan's Concerto" for Violins & Cello

4 parts2 pages02:185 years ago3,188 views
Strings(4)
Turlough O'Carolan was born in Nobber in Co Meath in 1670 and is regarded as one of the finest composers and harpists that Ireland has ever produced. Dr. Douglas Hyde in his literary history of Ireland stated:

"Although many distinguished harpers flourished during the first quarter of the 18th century, yet Turlough O'Carolan stands pre-eminently as the representative Irish musician of that period."

Seán O'Riada was primarily responsible for reviving the music of O'Carolan, as his solo recordings and recordings with Ceoltóirí Chualann testify. 'O'Carolan's Concerto' was recorded on the disc 'Ceol na Nuasal' (The Music of the Nobility).

The story behind 'O'Carolan's Concerto' is an interesting one. It is said that it was a response to a compositional challenge by Francesco Geminiani, the Italian violinist and composer, during his visit to Dublin.

Many of O'Carolan's compositions are still performed by Irish musicians, such as Planxty, The Chieftains and The Dubliners. Derek Bell, who was a musician with The Chieftains and the first to record two albums of O'Carolan's music, commented on this piece:

"'Carolan's Concerto' could be described as a two-part bouree. It isn't a concerto. You could call it his symphony or concerto if several musicians are sounding together in it."

Although this work was originally written for Celtic Harp, I created this arrangement at the request of a user for Violins (3) and Cello.

Violin Concerto in C Major (RV 185 Op. 4 No. 7) for String Quartet

4 parts14 pages07:514 years ago2,863 views
Violin, Strings(3)
Although Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) had already accomplished himself as a composer of violin sonatas and of sacred music, nothing propelled his career more than his first set of concertos -- L'estro armonico (Op.3) -- which first appeared in 1711. Besides being widely popular with both musicians and audiences of the day, L'estro armonico had a significant impact on the development of the relatively new solo-concerto. The set's influence was felt all across Europe -- no less a figure than J.S. Bach transcribed six of the Op.3 concertos for keyboard.

La Stravaganza (Op. 4) appeared shortly after, in around 1713, and was dedicated to Vettor Dolfin (the surname given in its Tuscan form, Delfino), a young Venetian noble to whom Vivaldi had taught the violin. While enormously successful in it's own right, this set of twelve concertos was a complete departure from Op.3. While the influence of the Corellian concerto grosso had been significant in L'estro armonico, in La Stravaganza Vivaldi severed himself completely from past traditions. The Op.4 set is characterized by harmonic daring, passage work bordering on the bizarre, and a new, uniquely flexible, solo-concerto "form" that would become so typical of Vivaldi. The originality and variety of material is also noteworthy; each work seems to systematically refute a different aspect of the traditional concerto, and even some standards of composition at the time. All this is not without its own sense of musical humor. However, the set also demonstrates the care the composer took over the selection and grouping of works destined for publication; i.e. grouping the concertos into pairs -- one major, one minor -- with an adjustment made to ensure that the whole set ends in major.

The Op.4 concertos are the earliest examples of a theatri al conception of the solo concerto to be offered to international audiences of music lovers. This, even more than Vivaldi's daring writing for the solo violin, is the true significance of the word stravaganza in the title. Indeed, among Vivaldi's printed works, the road to the future is marked by the Stravaganza concerti rather than those of L'estro armonico. Vivaldi would never retrace his steps in the direction of Op.3, and the collections which followed Op.4 further develop the concept of the instrumental solo as outlined in Op.4.

This, the Violin Concerto in C Major (RV 185 Op. 4 No. 7) was a departure in several ways. It is the only work of the set to have four (4) instead of three (3) and more closely follows the model and the style of the Concerto Grosso. Unusual in this concerto is that the opening movement is Largo (a departure from his earlier works) and the third movement is based on a dialog of 2 equal solo violins. The dance-like final Allegro employes the closed-Corellian 'concertino' of two violins and a cello as well as the corresponding interplay between the concertino and ripieno.

Although originally scored for Violin and Strings (2 Violins, Viola, Cello, Bass & Continuo), I created this arrangement for String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).

"Gloria in Excelsis Deo" from the Mass in B Minor (BWV 232 Nos. 4&5) for Small Orchestra

11 parts21 pages06:055 years ago2,730 views
Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Trumpet, French Horn, Strings(5)
The Mass in B minor (BWV 232) by Johann Sebastian Bach is a musical setting of the complete Ordinary of the Latin Mass. The work was one of Bach's last compositions, not completed until 1749, the year before his death. Much of the Mass gave new form to vocal music that Bach had composed throughout his career, dating back (in the case of the "Crucifixus") to 1714, but extensively revised. To complete the work, in the late 1740s Bach composed new sections of the Credo such as "Et incarnatus est".

It was unusual for composers working in the Lutheran tradition to compose a Missa tota and Bach's motivations remain a matter of scholarly debate. The Mass was never performed in its entirety during Bach's lifetime; the first documented complete performance took place in 1859. Since the nineteenth century it has been widely hailed as one of the greatest compositions in musical history, and today it is frequently performed and recorded. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach archived this work as the Great Catholic Mass.

On 1 February 1733, Augustus II Strong, Polish King, Grand Duke of Lithuania and Elector of Saxony, died. Five months of mourning followed, during which all public music-making was suspended. Bach used the opportunity to work on the composition of a Missa, a portion of the liturgy sung in Latin and common to both the Lutheran and Roman Catholic rites. His aim was to dedicate the work to the new sovereign Augustus III, a Catholic, with the hope of obtaining the title "Electoral Saxon Court Composer”. Upon its completion, Bach visited Augustus III and presented him with a copy of the Missa, together with a petition to be given a court title, dated July 27, 1733; in the accompanying inscription on the wrapper of the mass he complains that he had "innocently suffered one injury or another” in Leipzig. The petition did not meet with immediate success, but Bach eventually got his title: he was made court composer to Augustus III in 1736.

In the last years of his life, Bach expanded the Missa into a complete setting of the Latin Ordinary. It is not known what prompted this creative effort. Wolfgang Osthoff and other scholars have suggested that Bach intended the completed Mass in B minor for performance at the dedication of the new Hofkirche in Dresden, which was begun in 1738 and was nearing completion by the late 1740s. However, the building was not completed until 1751, and Bach's death in July, 1750 prevented his Mass from being submitted for use at the dedication. Instead, Johann Adolph Hasse's Mass in D minor was performed, a work with many similarities to Bach's Mass (the Credo movements in both works feature chant over a walking bass line, for example). Other explanations are less event-specific, involving Bach's interest in 'encyclopedic' projects (like The Art of Fugue) that display a wide range of styles, and Bach's desire to preserve some of his best vocal music in a format with wider potential future use than the church cantatas they originated in.

The piece is orchestrated for two flutes, two oboes d'amore, one natural horn (in D), three natural trumpets (in D), timpani, violins I and II, violas and basso continuo (cellos, basses, bassoons, organ and harpsichord).

Source: Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_in_B_minor).

I created this arrangement of the "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" (Glory to God in the highest) for Small Orchestra (Bb Trumpet, French Horn, Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, Bassoon, Timpani, Bassoon, 2 Violins, Viola & Cello).

"Tollite Hostias" (Opus 12 No. 10) for Small Orchestra

10 parts5 pages02:075 years ago2,723 views
Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, French Horn, Bassoon, Strings(5)
Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 – 1921) was a French composer, organist, conductor, and pianist of the Romantic era. He is known especially for The Carnival of the Animals, Danse macabre, Samson and Delilah (Opera), Piano Concerto No. 2, Cello Concerto No. 1, Havanaise, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, and his Symphony No. 3 (Organ Symphony).

Saint-Saëns' Oratorio de Noël is a solid presentation of an extremely appealing work. Scored for five soloists, chorus, strings, harp, and organ, the oratorio lies within the capabilities of good church and community choirs, and could easily find a place in the repertoires of groups looking for an alternative to Messiah to celebrate the Christmas season. It's warmly, but not gushily Romantic, with gratifying vocal and choral writing, and both harmonic and contrapuntal richness and variety. Much of it resembles what Mendelssohn might have sounded like had he lived long enough to adopt a late-Romantic idiom. Several of the movements are strongly memorable, particularly the Prelude and Consurge, Filia Sion (with their nods to Bach's Weinachtsoratorium), the duet, Benedictus, and the trio Tecum principium. One of the standouts of this performance is the organ of Hans-Joachim Bartsch, whose sensitive playing and colorful choice of registration is especially striking. The choral singing and orchestral playing of Bachchor and Bachorchester Mainz, conducted by Diethard Hellmann is top notch -- full and warmly nuanced. Sopranos Verena Schweizer, Edith Wiens, alto Helena Jungwirth, and tenor Friedrich Melzer sing beautifully, but bass Kurt Widmer is a little hooty. The sound is adequate, but is sometimes slightly distant. With a running time of less than 40 minutes, the CD could have used some filling out, perhaps with a few of the composer's many excellent liturgical choral works.

Although originally created for accompanied chorus, I created this arrangement for Small Orchestra: String Ensemble (Violins (2), Viola, Cello & Bass), French Horn & Woodwinds (Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, & Bassoon).

"Ding Dong, Merrily on High" for Small Orchestra

7 parts6 pages02:554 years ago2,631 views
Harp, Percussion(2), Strings(4)
"Ding Dong Merrily on High" is a Christmas carol. The tune first appeared as a secular dance tune known under the title "Branle de l'Official" in Orchésographie, a dance book written by Jehan Tabourot (1519–1593). The lyrics are from English composer George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848–1934), and the carol was first published in 1924 in his The Cambridge Carol-Book: Being Fifty-two Songs for Christmas, Easter, And Other Seasons. Woodward took an interest in church bell ringing, which no doubt aided him in writing it. Woodward was the author of several carol books, including Songs of Syon and The Cowley Carol Book. The macaronic style is characteristic of Woodward’s delight in archaic poetry. Charles Wood harmonised the tune when it was published with Woodward's text in The Cambridge Carol Book. More recently, Sir David Willcocks made an arrangement for the second book of Carols for Choirs.

The song is particularly noted for the Latin refrain: "Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!" (Glory! Hosanna in the highest!) where the sung vowel sound "o" of "Gloria" is fluidly sustained through a lengthy rising and falling melismatic melodic sequence.


I created this unusual arrangement to highlight the sounds traditionally associated with Christmas for the Concert (Pedal) Harp, Tubular Bells, Marimba & Strings (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).

"The Trumpet Shall Sound" (HWV 56 No. 48) for Trumpet, Horn & Strings

6 parts9 pages08:384 years ago2,579 views
Trumpet, French Horn, Strings(4)
Messiah (HWV 56) is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.

Handel's reputation in England, where he had lived since 1712, had been established through his compositions of Italian opera. He turned to English oratorio in the 1730s in response to changes in public taste; Messiah was his sixth work in this genre. Although its structure resembles that of opera, it is not in dramatic form; there are no impersonations of characters and no direct speech. Instead, Jennens's text is an extended reflection on Jesus Christ as Messiah. The text begins in Part I with prophecies by Isaiah and others, and moves to the annunciation to the shepherds, the only "scene" taken from the Gospels. In Part II, Handel concentrates on the Passion and ends with the "Hallelujah" chorus. In Part III he covers the resurrection of the dead and Christ's glorification in heaven.

Handel wrote Messiah for modest vocal and instrumental forces, with optional settings for many of the individual numbers. In the years after his death, the work was adapted for performance on a much larger scale, with giant orchestras and choirs. In other efforts to update it, its orchestration was revised and amplified by (among others) Mozart. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the trend has been towards reproducing a greater fidelity to Handel's original intentions, although "big Messiah" productions continue to be mounted. A near-complete version was issued on 78 rpm discs in 1928; since then the work has been recorded many times.

The work begins quietly, with instrumental and solo movements preceding the first appearance of the chorus, whose entry in the low alto register is muted. A particular aspect of Handel's restraint is his limited use of trumpets throughout the work. After their introduction in the Part I chorus "Glory to God", apart from the solo in "The trumpet shall sound" they are heard only in "Hallelujah" and the final chorus "Worthy is the Lamb".

Handel wrote "The trumpet shall sound" as the final Bass Aria for Part III Scene II (No. 48). Although written for Trumpets, Chorus (SATB), Bass Soloist and Harpsichord, I created this arrangement for Bb Trumpet, French Horn & Strings (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).

Violin Concerto in Bb Major (RV 383 Op. 4 No. 1) for String Quartet

4 parts19 pages08:354 years ago2,375 views
Violin, Strings(3)
Although Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) had already accomplished himself as a composer of violin sonatas and of sacred music, nothing propelled his career more than his first set of concertos -- L'estro armonico (Op.3) -- which first appeared in 1711. Besides being widely popular with both musicians and audiences of the day, L'estro armonico had a significant impact on the development of the relatively new solo-concerto. The set's influence was felt all across Europe -- no less a figure than J.S. Bach transcribed six of the Op.3 concertos for keyboard.

La Stravaganza (Op. 4) appeared shortly after, in around 1713, and was dedicated to Vettor Dolfin (the surname given in its Tuscan form, Delfino), a young Venetian noble to whom Vivaldi had taught the violin. While enormously successful in it's own right, this set of twelve concertos was a complete departure from Op.3. While the influence of the Corellian concerto grosso had been significant in L'estro armonico, in La Stravaganza Vivaldi severed himself completely from past traditions. The Op.4 set is characterized by harmonic daring, passage work bordering on the bizarre, and a new, uniquely flexible, solo-concerto "form" that would become so typical of Vivaldi. The originality and variety of material is also noteworthy; each work seems to systematically refute a different aspect of the traditional concerto, and even some standards of composition at the time. All this is not without its own sense of musical humor. However, the set also demonstrates the care the composer took over the selection and grouping of works destined for publication; i.e. grouping the concertos into pairs -- one major, one minor -- with an adjustment made to ensure that the whole set ends in major.

The Op.4 concertos are the earliest examples of a theatri al conception of the solo concerto to be offered to international audiences of music lovers. This, even more than Vivaldi's daring writing for the solo violin, is the true significance of the word stravaganza in the title. Indeed, among Vivaldi's printed works, the road to the future is marked by the Stravaganza concerti rather than those of L'estro armonico. Vivaldi would never retrace his steps in the direction of Op.3, and the collections which followed Op.4 further develop the concept of the instrumental solo as outlined in Op.4.

This Concerto in B-flat for violin, 4-part strings and continuo, RV 383a, is first in the Op.4 set. As Op.4 goes, this concerto begins relatively straight-forwardly.

The first movement, Allegro, serves admirably to give La Stravaganza a lively start, but stays well with in the norms established later on in the set.

The second movement, Largo, displays some extraordinarily beautiful writing for the violin during an extended solo, which in itself is noteworthy as it was not uncommon for "slow" movements of the period to consist of little more than a few punctuating chords.

The final Allegro is, it seems, a joke on form... the "opening" tutti, though wonderfully written, is so long that it takes up a full two-thirds of the movement! By the time the violin solo finally arrives, it is as if the composer ran out of ideas -- the violin solo goes on quite a while simply playing chord progressions, never really introducing any melodic material. After an extended opening tutti and an extended violin solo, one might get the feeling as the second tutti passage arrives that this movement is going to go on for several more minutes, but here Vivaldi takes a proverbial left-turn. To extend the metaphor, he slams on the brakes with some skillfully placed diminished-seventh chords, and brings the entire concerto to a sudden, but efficient, end.

Although originally scored for Violin and Strings (2 Violins, Viola, Cello, Bass & Continuo), I created this arrangement for String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).

Sinfonia in C Major for Piano & Strings

6 parts13 pages04:115 years ago2,239 views
Violin, Strings(4), Piano
Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni (1671 – 1751) was an Italian Baroque composer. While famous in his day as an opera composer, he is mainly remembered today for his instrumental music, such as the concertos, some of which are regularly recorded.

Born in Venice, Republic of Venice, to Antonio Albinoni, a wealthy paper merchant in Venice, he studied violin and singing. Relatively little is known about his life, especially considering his contemporary stature as a composer, and the comparatively well-documented period in which he lived. In 1694 he dedicated his Opus 1 to the fellow-Venetian, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (grand-nephew of Pope Alexander VIII); Ottoboni was an important patron in Rome of other composers, such as Arcangelo Corelli. His first opera, Zenobia, regina de Palmireni, was produced in Venice in 1694. Albinoni was possibly employed in 1700 as a violinist to Charles IV, Duke of Mantua, to whom he dedicated his Opus 2 collection of instrumental pieces. In 1701 he wrote his hugely popular suites Opus 3, and dedicated that collection to Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

His instrumental music greatly attracted the attention of Johann Sebastian Bach, who wrote at least two fugues on Albinoni's themes (Fugue in A major on a theme by Tomaso Albinoni, BWV 950, Fugue in B minor on a theme by Tomaso Albinoni, BWV 951) and frequently used his basses for harmony exercises for his pupils. Part of Albinoni's work was lost in World War II with the destruction of the Dresden State Library. As a result, little is known of his life and music after the mid-1720s. The famous "Albinoni Adagio in G minor" for violin, strings and organ, the subject of many modern recordings, is now thought to be a musical hoax composed by Remo Giazotto, although the recent discovery by musicologist Muska Mangano, Giazotto's last assistant, of a modern but independent manuscript transcription of the figured bass portion and six fragmentary bars of the first violin, "bearing in the top right-hand corner a stamp stating unequivocally the Dresden provenance of the original from which it was taken," provides some support for Giazotto's account that Albinoni was his source.

Althpugh originally written for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 violins, 2 violas, bassoon and basso continuo, I created this arrangement for Piano and Strings (Solo Violin, 2nd Violins (2), Viola & Cello).
Allegro from Concerto in C Minor (BWV 1060) for Oboes & Strings
Video

Allegro from Concerto in C Minor (BWV 1060) for Oboes & Strings

6 parts17 pages04:285 years ago2,094 views
Oboe, Strings(5)
The harpsichord concertos, BWV 1052-1065, are concertos for harpsichord, strings and continuo by Johann Sebastian Bach. Of these, there are seven complete concertos for a single harpsichord, (BWV 1052-1058), three concertos for 2 harpsichords (BWV 1060-1062), two concertos for 3 harpsichords (BWV 1063-1064), and one concerto for 4 harpsichords, (BWV 1065).

All of Bach's harpsichord concertos (with the exception of the Brandenburg concerto) are thought to be arrangements made from earlier concertos for melodic instruments probably written in Köthen. In many cases, only the harpsichord version has survived.

While the existing score is in the form of a concerto for harpsichord and strings, Bach scholars believe it to be a transcription of a lost double concerto in D minor; a reconstructed arrangement of this concerto for two violins or violin and oboe is classified as BWV 1060R. The subtle and masterful way in which the solo instruments blend with the orchestra marks this out as one of the most mature works of Bach's years at Köthen. The middle movement is a cantabile for the solo instruments with orchestral accompaniment.

Although this Concerto in C Minor was originally written for 2 Harpsichords and orchestra, I created this arrangement for 2 Oboes and Strings (2 Violins, Viola, Cello & Bass).
Allegro from Concerto for Viola d'amore in D Major (RV 392 No 3) for Viola & Strings
Video

Allegro from Concerto for Viola d'amore in D Major (RV 392 No 3) for Viola & Strings

5 parts11 pages05:154 years ago2,023 views
Guitar, Strings(4)
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi nicknamed il Prete Rosso ("The Red Priest") because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe. Vivaldi is known mainly for composing instrumental concertos, especially for the violin, as well as sacred choral works and over 40 operas. His best known work is a series of violin concertos known as The Four Seasons.

Vivaldi's works for viola d'amore include the earliest known concertos for the instrument. There is quite a lot of information available about these works but it is scattered in various books, journals and academic studies. Vivaldi's association with the viola d'amore seems to have been a lifelong one. There is evidence that Vivaldi may have encountered the viola d'amore as early as 1689 whilst deputising for his father in the Orchestra of San Marco. One Nicolo Urio was engaged there in that year as a viola d'amore player (Selfridge-Field 1994). Vivaldi's earliest datable work for viola d'amore is the aria 'Quanto magis...' from the Oratorio Juditha Triumphans (1716) which was written for the Pietà and would certainly have been played by the celebrated Anna Maria. The majority of the concertos use five or six strings and are written for chordal tunings. However, two of the concertos, RV394 and RV396, appear to have been written for fifths tunings and only use four strings. They have few double stops and RV396 is the only of Vivaldi's works for viola d'amore to be notated in alto clef (an octave lower than sounding).

Although originally written for Viola d'amore, strings and continuo, I created this arrangement for modern solo Viola and String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).
Violin Concerto in D Major (RV 212) for String Quartet
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Violin Concerto in D Major (RV 212) for String Quartet

4 parts25 pages13:534 years ago1,978 views
Violin, Strings(3)
Although Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) had already accomplished himself as a composer of violin sonatas and of sacred music, nothing propelled his career more than his first set of concertos -- L'estro armonico (Op.3) -- which first appeared in 1711. Besides being widely popular with both musicians and audiences of the day, L'estro armonico had a significant impact on the development of the relatively new solo-concerto. The set's influence was felt all across Europe -- no less a figure than J.S. Bach transcribed six of the Op.3 concertos for keyboard.

This, the Violin Concerto in D Major (RV 212) was composed in 1712 as ‘Per la Solennità della S. Lingua di S. Antonio in Padoa’; most of the original 2nd mvt has been lost due to source damage with only a set of parts copied by Pisendel on Venetian paper & dated ‘1712’ remaining. Little is written of this particular work and it is seldom performed. Although originally scored for Violin and Strings (2 Violins, Viola, Cello, Bass & Continuo), I created this arrangement for String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).

"Hallelujah Chorus" from "The Messiah" (HWV 56 No. 44) for Choir (SATB), Handbells & Orchestra

20 parts23 pages03:41a year ago1,893 views
Voice(4), Trumpet(2), Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, English Horn, French Horn, Bassoon, Timpani, Percussion(3), Strings(4)
The "Messiah" (HWV 56) is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer (which are worded slightly differently from their King James counterparts). It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.

Handel's reputation in England, where he had lived since 1713, had been established through his compositions of Italian opera. He turned to English oratorio in the 1730s, in response to changes in public taste; Messiah was his sixth work in this genre. Although its structure resembles that of conventional opera, it is not in dramatic form; there are no impersonations of characters and very little direct speech. Instead, Jennens's text is an extended reflection on Jesus Christ as Messiah, moving from the prophetic phrases of Isaiah and others, through the Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection of Christ to his ultimate glorification in heaven.

Handel wrote Messiah for modest vocal and instrumental forces, with optional settings for many of the individual numbers. In the years after his death, the work was adapted for performance on a much larger scale, with giant orchestras and choirs. In other efforts to update it, its orchestration was revised and amplified by (among others) Mozart. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the trend has been towards authenticity; most contemporary performances show a greater fidelity towards Handel's original intentions, although "big Messiah" productions continue to be mounted.

At the end of his manuscript Handel wrote the letters "SDG"—Soli Deo Gloria, "To God alone the glory". This inscription, taken with the speed of composition, has encouraged belief in the apocryphal story that Handel wrote the music in a fervour of divine inspiration in which, as he wrote the "Hallelujah" chorus, "he saw all heaven before him". Many of Handel's operas, of comparable length and structure to Messiah, were composed within similar timescales between theatrical seasons.

Although originally written for Full Orchestra, I created this arrangement for Choir (SATB, English Handbells, Percussion (Tubular Bells & Timpini) & Orchestra (Piccolo Trumpet, Bb Trumpet, Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, English Horn, French Horn, Bassoon, Violins, Violas & Cellos).

Violin Concerto in D Minor (RV 236 Op. 8 No. 9) for String Quartet

4 parts17 pages08:264 years ago1,743 views
Violin, Strings(3)
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678-1741) is best known to modern audiences for his instrumental music. Like most composers of his time, Vivaldi composed in the formal medium of the sonata in his earliest publications (from 1703). His reputation was propelled by his concertos, the earliest of which appeared in 1711. This is still the genre with which he is most widely associated.

Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione (The Contest Between Harmony and Invention) is a set of twelve concertos written by Antonio Vivaldi between 1723 and 1725 and published in 1725 as Op. 8. All are for violin solo, strings, and basso continuo. The first four concertos are usually known as The Four Seasons (Le quattro stagioni).

Vivaldi's most famous opus was published in Amsterdam by Michel Charles Le Cène in 1725. It is clear, though, that various portions of sundry works had been written earlier. What was perhaps new was the formalization of the scheme, complete with the texts of the sonnets with which they were coordinated, of the first four concertos--The Four Seasons. These works, and their cyclical organization, captured the imagination of many and led to a "Four Seasons" industry of arrangements performances that extends to the current day.

Unlike other opuses that postdated Vivaldi's move to Mantua, this one resumed the practice of dedicating the collection to a nobleman, in this case Venceslas, count of Morzin (also Morcin, spelled Marzin in the print itself). (Two concertos known only in manuscript, RV 449 and 496, were also dedicated to the count. He was Bohemian with townhouses in Prague and Vienna. He was an occasional patron of Venetian opera. Prague, the capital of Bohemia, was a thriving city was rapidly developing enterprises focused on opera and on the development of string music. One can see how poetic justice prevailed in this dedication: Bohemians not only loved music but were happy to master its component parts.

This opus was more popular in France than anywhere else. Parisian reprints issued from the presses of Madame Boivin (c. 1739, 1743, 1748). Manuscripts were widely circulated. Rearrangements of portions of the opus were opus also proliferated. In Dresden, the orchestration of some works was enriched by Johann Pisendel, who also elaborated some of the articulation.

In the works as a set, major keys predominate. Nos. 7, 9, AND 11 are known in alternative versions. The final of movement of Op. 8, No. 11 presents a particularly complex web of revisions to the alternation of tutti and solo.

Although this, the Concerto No. 9 in D Minor, (RV 236) was originally scored for Violin and Strings (2 Violins, Viola, Cello, Bass & Continuo), I created this arrangement for String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello) and it is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (http://www.schristiancollins.com/generaluser.php).

"Cantique de Jean Racine" (Opus 11) for Harp & Strings

5 parts5 pages03:144 years ago1,718 views
Strings(4), Harp
Cantique de Jean Racine (Op. 11) is a work for mixed chorus and piano or organ by Gabriel Fauré. Written by the nineteen year old composer in 1864-5, the piece won Fauré the first prize when he graduated from the École Niedermeyer and was first performed the following year on August 4, 1866, with accompaniment of strings and organ. It was first published around 1875 or 1876 (Schoen, Paris, as part of the series Echo des Maîtrises) and appeared in a version for orchestra (possibly by the composer) in 1906.

The text is a French translation, by the 17th century French dramatist Jean Racine, of a medieval Latin hymn, Consors paterni luminis. When Gabriel Fauré set the translation to music, he gave it the title Cantique de Jean Racine, rather than the title of the original hymn.

Although originally written for Organ and Chorus, I created this arrangement for Harp & String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).