chapter  4
16 Pages

The Recorder and Flute in Venice: the First Professional Players

Against the background, in which the progressive emergence of leading figures among amateur and professional players of the flauto stimulated the creation of an increasingly distinct and diverse repertory for it, Vivaldi's contribution appears massive. At the latest count, he wrote sixty-four instrumental works for flauto (counting recorder and transverse flute together) or containing an independent part for the instrument, among them a large number of vocal compositions featuring it in a concertante role. There is considerable documentary evidence that Vivaldi and Penati had close links. They may have met first in the Cappella ducale, where both men appeared as occasional supplementary players (the composer's father, Giovanni Battista, was, of course, a regular member of the orchestra, and Penati joined it permanently in 1698). On Vivaldi's relationship to the transverse flute, and on his production of concertos and other works intended for it, much ink has been spilled, though not always to good effect.