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Women of the Pietà, Vivaldi Concerto for Two Horns in F Major (RV 539)

posted on 2024-03-03, 11:22 authored by Carla BlackwoodCarla Blackwood

Live Performance link on Youtube.

The Vivaldi Concerto for Two horns, Strings and Continuo RV 539 was performed in this 4 concert performances with Pinchgut Opera, the Orchestra of the Antipodes, and Erin Helyard. I performed the first solo horn part on a copy of baroque horn: Richard Seraphinoff, Bloomington, USA, 2018, after Johann Leichnambschneider, Nuremberg, Germany, c.1730.

Performances were held in the City Recital Hall Angel Place, Sydney on 10-11 September 2022, and Melbourne Recital Centre on 15-16 September 2022.

Vivaldi wrote most of his sacred music for the all-female virtuosi of the Pietà – one of four ospedali which boasted musical excellence between 1585 and 1855. Ospedali were state-run shelters for poor or homeless children, which provided the first formally organised musical education for female musicians outside the convent. The women of the Pietà were renowned for mastering even the most unwieldly instruments, and known for their abilities on the natural horn. This double horn concerto is a technical and musical feat on the baroque horn. This was its first performance in Australia on period horns, and notable for contextualising the work with music written for the women of the Pietà, with women as the soloists.


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