Lute concerto in D major (Vivaldi)

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The Lute Concerto in D major, RV 93, is one of four works featuring the solo lute 2 Violins & Basso continuo written by Antonio Vivaldi. Vivaldi wrote the piece in the 1730s, a period in which he wrote two of his other works featuring the lute: the trios for violin and lute in G minor and C major.[1]


The concerto is in three movements:[1]

  1. Allegro giusto
  2. Largo
  3. Allegro

The first movement is in a fast tempo and begins with a ritornello played by the violins and then repeated by the solo lute.[1][2] According to AllMusic critic Brian Robins, the ritornello "contrasts a tuneful opening theme with a more lyrical motif in the minor mode."[1] During the movement, the solo lute plays melodies in contrast to the ritornello.[2] The movement consists of several sections, almost all of which incorporate a portion of the ritornello melody.[2]

The second movement also consists of several sections.[2] Robins describes this movement as a "reflective meditation by the soloist" against accompaniment by the violins and pizzicato bass.[1] Robins praises the movement's "exquisitely simple shift from triple to duple meter."[1] The third and final movement is another fast movement in a 6/8 time signature which Robins describes as having "a bit of tarantella-like feel."[1] The soloist also has the option of playing the half notes in the movement using a more vigorous 12/8 time signature.[3]


The concerto uses the lute primarily in a high register.[4] The lute parts are written primarily as chords, and the lute player is intended to play arpeggios based on these chords.[4] The piece also includes important parts for the violins.[4]

Today, Ben Salfield is one of the few lutenists to perform the concerto regularly in European concerts.[citation needed]

The concerto is usually played on guitar.[3][4] Yes guitarist Steve Howe performed the second movement on guitar on the band's 2002 live album Symphonic Live, into which he incorporated a number of improvisations.[5]

It has also been performed on guitar by more classical soloists, such as John Williams.[1] The piece is also sometimes played on mandolin.[3] The concerto is played on the Ontario Parliament Network and is performed by Canadian guitarists Liona Boyd and Norbert Kraft. It has become the channel's classical staple.


In 2014, Vivaldi's lute concerto ranked #78 on the ABC Classic FM Classic 100 Baroque and Before countdown.[6] In 2007 it had ranked #75 on the station's Classic 100 concerto countdown.

The autograph manuscript of Vivaldi's lute concerto is currently at the Turin National University Library in Turin, Italy.[1]

The 2nd movement, Largo, was incorporated into Georges Delerue's Oscar-winning score for the 1979 film A Little Romance.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Robins, Brian. Lute (Chamber) Concerto Grosso, for lute (or guitar), 2 violins & continuo in D major, RV 93 at AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
  2. ^ a b c d Hiscock, C. & Metcalfe, M. (1999). New Music Matters 11–14 Volume 2. Heinemann. pp. 55–62. ISBN 9780435810917.
  3. ^ a b c Lemma, M. (2012). Vivaldi Concertos for Mandolin. Mel Bay Publications. p. 4. ISBN 9781619110410.
  4. ^ a b c d Kolneder, W. (1970). Antonio Vivaldi: His Life and Work. University of California Press. p. 142. ISBN 0520016297.
  5. ^ Rivadavia, E.. Symphonic Live at AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
  6. ^ "Classic 100: Baroque and Before". ABC Classic FM. Retrieved 2014-08-23.

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