Chapter 3 - CASE STUDY

           The author of the Concerto for violin in D minor A.2.3.9: Vivaldi or Torelli?

The concerto for violin and orchestra in D minor that we are going to analyse in this chapter appears both in Vivaldi's catalogue, as RV 813 (previously RV Anh. 10), and in Torelli's one, as A.2.3.9. This composition has been for a long time and still is a fascinating enigma amongst musicologists. Its authorship, in fact, is still uncertain, divided between Giuseppe Torelli and Antonio Vivaldi.


Only one version of this composition was known: the transcription in B minor for solo keyboard, BWV 979, made by Johann Sebastian Bach.

This transcription belongs to the corpus of arrangements of concertos from different authors that Bach made when he was working as organist at the court of Weimar. He realized in total 22 transcriptions, of which 16 are for keyboard (manualiter), BWV 972-987 and 6 are for a keyboard instrument with the pedal board (pedaliter), BWV 592-597. Around 1715 Johann Bernhard Bach, Johann Sebastian's second cousin, copied twelve of these concertos in a single manuscript, which is now held in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, shelf mark  P 280. This manuscript bears the title «XII Concerto di Vivaldi, elaborati di J.S.Bach», on which – later on – Johann Bernhard's son, Johann Ernest, added the indication of property «Johann Ernest Bach, Lipsiensis 1739». According to that title, these concertos were all considered to be compositions by Vivaldi for a long time; it turned out that only 6 of them were actually by Vivaldi, while the others were composed by various authors: Georg Philipp Telemann, Alessandro Marcello, Tommaso Albinoni, Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar and unknown (for the concerto that we are examining).