violin concerto discovered in the archives of the Dresden State
Library last June is ‘almost certainly’ not by Vivaldi, according
to Baroque expert Michael Talbot. It now appears likely that the
work was written by the lesser-known Italian composer Francesco
A contemporary of Johann Georg Pisendel, Cattaneo took over his role as concertmaster of the Dresden court orchestra in 1755. When the concerto was first unearthed, scholars theorised that Vivaldi had written the technically challenging work expressly as a showpiece for Pisendel, or that the virtuoso had penned it himself. Subsequent research has shown similarities between the markings on Cattaneo’s compositions (such as ‘Qui si ferma a piacimento’) and those of Vivaldi.
‘The strongly Vivaldian features in both the character of much of the music and certain notational details point to the strong possibility that Cattaneo was a pupil of Vivaldi in Venice, before he emigrated to Germany in 1717–18,’ Talbot said. ‘The result of this flurry of activity on the part of musicologists is likely to be a growth of interest in Cattaneo as a composer, and perhaps also some clearer idea of his biographical relationship, if any, to Vivaldi.’
As yet, there are no definite plans for the concerto's first modern performance.
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