Antonio Vivaldi: Lost Concertos for Anna Maria
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Antonio Vivaldi: Lost Concertos for Anna Maria

Federico Guglielmo, Roberto Loreggian, Modo Antiquo, Federico Maria Sardelli

The so-called “Anna Maria Partbook” consists of an elegantly bound volume in red leather containing the violin parts of 31 violin concertos, of which 26 are by Antonio Vivaldi.

It was the personal repertoire of Vivaldi’s most gifted pupil, the famous “Anna Maria della Pietà”, who played also the viola d'amore, the mandolin, the theorbo, and the harpsichord. Anna Maria’s partbook represents an extraordinary collection of violin concerts of high virtuosity. 20 of the 26 Vivaldi concerts are also known from other manuscript sources. The remaining 6 are known only from the source of Anna Maria, and therefore incomplete: they are divided into 3 concerts for violin and 3 concerts for violin and organ, a pair of instruments widely used by Vivaldi and the Pietà.

Of these 6 concerts left out of the Vivaldi repertoire due to their incompleteness, Federico Maria Sardelli carried out a reconstruction based on many authentic concordant sources: this serious philological work allows us to enjoy 6 new concerts of Vivaldi, performed by leading Vivaldi interpreters of our days: violinist Federico Guglielmo and the ensemble Modo Antiquo under the direction of Sardelli, who give their debut on Glossa with this recording.


There was a time in Venice when baby girls could be dropped through a slot, similar to a libraryreturns chute, and so be abandoned to be raised in a convent. If a young girl was (relatively speaking) lucky enough to be left at the Ospedale della Pietà in the late 1600s, then she would be raised in one of the best musical traditions of the day. The teacher was none other than Antonio Vivaldi, and he wrote most of his best music for these orphan girls. One in particular was his favourite, and he created an entire book just for her, the ‘Anna-Maria Part Book’. Handsomely bound in leather, this book included the violin parts of 31 concertos, and while most can be found elsewhere in historical documents, six concertos have only ever been found in this book.

Federico Maria Sardelli, a specialist not only in historical performance but also musicology and conducting, has painstakingly reconstructed these missing six concertos from snippets found across the historical record. Federico Guglielmo and the ensemble Modo Antiquo, under the direction of Sardelli, have created a bright and engaging recording of these works. Particular favourites of mine were the Concertos for Violin and Organ, with a sweet blending of the tone colours, each melding and then taking charge before bowing again to the full orchestra.

Kate Rockstrom is a friend of Readings.

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