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The uneven waters of music rediscovery
November 18, 2010 12:02 PM   Subscribe

Two unknown sonatas by Antonio Vivaldi have surfaced, which have collected dust and (doubtless) delighted the bugs for more than two centuries. This is the second find of Vivaldi compositions within a short time. A lost flute concerto has re-surfaced in Edinburgh and was performed earlier this fall. If we read closely, however, parts the flute concerto "Il Gran Mogol" were already known to the musical world.

This frenzy of rediscoveries brings back dear memories of the six lost piano sonatas by Joseph Haydn, of which previously only the beginnings were known (because Haydn kept a thematic catalogue of his works). The sonatas were "found" in the early nineties, and fooled several specialists in the field, among whom the Nestor among Haydn scholars H C Robbins Landon. Eventually, doubts arose about the authenticity of the works.

The person who had "found" these sonatas was no other than Winfried Michel, a flautist who was well known to insiders because he earlier had blessed the world of historical performance practice with tongue-in-cheeky Post-Neo-Baroque pieces "by" a certain Giovanni Paolo Simonetti (a fictional composer whose name was allegedly derived from an ice cream salon in the Hague).

Back to Vivaldi (who also was called the Red Priest), a group with the same name takes a playful approach to matters of copyright and plagiarism in the 18th century, including Simonetti in their programs. Seen the way this group approaches the repertoire, Vivadi's rediscovered works might turn out to be a spooky addition to the canon.
posted by Namlit (7 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
They have recently been investigated and authenticated by Vivaldi expert Michael Talbot, Liverpool Hope University's visiting professor of music.

Sonata in C will be performed by the La Serenissima ensemble as part of the Cornerstone Festival at Liverpool Hope University's Cornerstone Theatre.


I hope someone performs them soon in London: my curiosity has been piqued.
posted by ersatz at 2:51 PM on November 18, 2010


This is an awesome post. I was excited about the Vivaldi discovery but wasn't familiar with the Haydn story.
posted by immlass at 2:58 PM on November 18, 2010


Why does it take more than five for an orchestra to master a new work and upload it to YouTube?

God I would love to be a member of that first audience.
posted by clarknova at 3:52 PM on November 18, 2010


five minutes, rather
posted by clarknova at 3:52 PM on November 18, 2010


Really interesting post, thanks!
posted by mediareport at 6:21 PM on November 18, 2010


Two unknown sonatas by Antonio Vivaldi have surfaced, which have collected dust and (doubtless) delighted the bugs for more than two centuries.

i thought the local mosquitos were becoming more musical this year
posted by pyramid termite at 8:26 PM on November 18, 2010


So what's the buzz about Vivaldi...
Pointer for the musicologists: the bee part in the score of his "Summer" still needs to be found. (or not. could be B music) [argh]
posted by Namlit at 12:50 AM on November 19, 2010


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