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About this Piece

The Concerto in C Major was likely composed for the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice, the convent/orphanage/music with which he was affiliated in some capacity for most of his professional life. The girls of the Pietà, mostly orphans and illegitimate daughters, were famous throughout Europe for their musical performances. When he was not employed teaching at the Ospedale, Vivaldi was usually under contract to send new concertos from wherever he happened to be.

Vivaldi wrote only three concertos for “flautino,” the sopranino recorder, which sounds an octave higher than the “alto” recorder in F, which is the recorder that got most of the solo work in the 18th century, including the Second Brandenburg. That concerto is virtuosic, but makes at least one concession to the instrument: it makes sparing use of the recorder’s lowest notes, which are its weakest. Low notes are less of a problem on the sopranino, which sounds so high (its lowest note is at the top of the treble clef staff) that it has little problem being heard, but Vivaldi’s Concerto in C nonetheless has few notes at the bottom of instrument’s range.

— Howard Posner