“The Contest Between Harmony and Invention” (II cimento dell’Armonia e dell’Invenzione) – this is how Vivaldi entitled the 12 opus concerts, which included the most famous "Four Seasons". They could not have been missed in the monographic concert of SMOK, dedicated to the work of the "red priest", Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741). Which will win?
Antonio Vivaldi is a true titan of concert creation. His favorite instrument was the violin, for which he wrote over 230 concerts (it is interesting to note that the second most popular instrument was the bassoon – 40 concerts). Apart from the famous "Four Seasons", musicians of the Szczecin Youth Chamber Orchestra will present three concerts from the collection "L'estro armonico" (Op.3). They were published in Amsterdam in 1711 and constitute the first collection of concerts released in print. These compositions were created when Vivaldi was employed by the Seminario Musicale dell'Ospedale della Pietà. Vivaldi served there as teacher, composer, conductor and music superintendent (1704-1740). The study of music held a special place in this female convent. Many accounts by Ospedale concert guests stress the high artistic level of Vivaldi's students. It was here that many violin concertos were created. In fact, the girls from the monastery showed different levels of skill, so Vivaldi composed not only demanding works, but also the ripieno type concertos, which meant that the whole orchestra was actually a soloist. The pieces from the "L'estro armonico" series that we hear on Wednesday, even though they come from Vivaldi's early period, were written for the girls who did not have to hide their playing in orchestra tutti.
The concert will round off with the most famous "Four Seasons" series, which is a work of not only virtuosic instrumental music. As we all know, Vivaldi featured sonnets in every concerto of the different seasons (probably his own), exceeding in this way the nineteenth-century idea of program music. And this mysterious subtitle "The contest between order and fantasy". In the case of the SMOK orchestra there is no doubt which will win ...
Mikołaj Rykowski PhD
Musicologist and clarinetist, doctorate, and associate at the Department Music Theory at the Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań. Author of a book and numerous articles devoted to the phenomenon of Harmoniemusik – the 18th-century practice of brass bands. Co-author of the scripts "Speaking concerts" and author of the spoken introductions to philharmonic concerts in Szczecin, Poznań, Bydgoszcz and Łódź.