Concerto for Two Trumpets in C Major

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

Antonio Vivaldi’s popular Double Trumpet Concerto in C major, RV 537, is remarkable in that the work itself is among Vivaldi’s best-known creations and yet we know practically nothing about it. The source of this concerto is a single manuscript located in the Renzo Giordano Collection at the National Library of Turin, a large gathering of manuscripts believed to preserve what is left of the ones Vivaldi himself accumulated during his lifetime. This served as the source used by Gian Francesco Malipiero, who first edited this concerto for publication in 1950. The second movement also appears in Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in C major, RV 110, another undated manuscript found in the same collection.

The material is appropriately flashy and fanfare-like in the outer movements, both of which are marked Allegro and propelled by vigorous rhythmic support from the strings. The trumpets usually play together in the solo passages and add some interesting color to the strings when playing along in the tutti. In the first movement the strings take a turn toward the minor mode, which the trumpets turn back to the major. The central Largo is basically serves as a short bridge between the two outer movements; the soloists are not heard, and the strings tread through a series of non-melodic repeated chords. The third movement dashes forward vigorously and emphatically in triple meter. When the strings turn to the minor mode this time the trumpets respond in kind.

This is Vivaldi’s only concerto featuring trumpets; the Double Concerto in D major, RV 781 (formerly RV 563), was believed at one time to be a second Vivaldi two trumpet concerto, but more recent scholarly investigation has revealed that it is a double oboe concerto. ~ All Music Guide, Rovi