Adopting as clues the thematic and stylistic similarities between the musical material of this concerto and other works by Vivaldi, like Sardelli and Demoulin did in their analysis, are not incontestable proof of Vivaldi's authorship of this composition, since the stylistic and technical tools as well as the idiomatic instrumental language used by Vivaldi in the development of the concerto-form is in the wake of that tradition established by Torelli, already from the end of the 1680s. The fact that many of these technical and stylistic elements have been used systematically and vastly by his Venetian emulator do not preclude the possibility that, in this specific case, they could have come out of Torelli's pen.

The following considerations offer a counter argument to those impediments pointed out by Sardelli and Demoulin regarding the possible attribution to Torelli:

2) Regarding the slow movement with the arpeggios in the solo part, we must notice that there is, actually, another similar example in Torelli's concerto production: the violin concerto A.2.3.6, published, posthumously, by Le Cène in Amsterdam in 1720 inside a collection of concertos by different Italian authors. Torelli's concerto is the fifth of this collection: “VI CONCERTI à 5 Stromenti (…) del Signo. F. M. Veracini, A. Vivaldi, G. M. Alberti, Salvini e G. Torelli”. A manuscript copy of this concerto is also held in the Archivio di San Petronio in Bologna. The second movement of this concerto is marked as “Largo e spiccato” and the solo part consists of broken chords presented in a figural motif.


Another similar case is represented, in a reduced setting, by the Sonata for violin and basso continuo in E minor A.1.3.8 / GieT60 (one manuscripted copy is held in the Archivio di San Petronio in Bologna, another one is held at the SLUB in Dresden, copied by Pisendel). The sixth movement of this sonata does not present any agogic indication but it presents a 'Largo and Spiccato' motif for the bass and arpeggios on the violin part.


Afterall the use of figural patterns in slow movements cannot be considered an exclusive prerogative of Venetian composers, nor a signature of them, since it can be found in compositions written by composers that were working at the Estense Court of Francesco II in Modena, to whom Torelli was very close (e.g., Sonata for violin and basso continuo op. 4 no. 6 and 8 by Tommaso Vitali).



3) It is true that in most of the compositions written by Torelli the harmonic rhythm is much slower. But this is easily explained by the fact that his education and his main activity as a composer were strictly connected to the church of San Petronio. That location forced Torelli and his colleagues to adapt their compositions to the specific characteristics of the space and its acoustic. Even if such a practice could have become a habit for a composer who was working daily in that space, a different approach in the harmonic mobility and rhythm for compositions that were not intended for San Petronio is still clearly visible.



4) A comparable rampant and prominent role for the soloist can be found in many works by Torelli, specially in those that have not been published during his life. It is understandable that a virtuoso player would have preferred to keep for himself the most difficult compositions in order to be able to bewitch his audience with 'special effects' while performing and also in order to publish those, less demanding, compositions that could have be more appealing for a larger number of people. The clearest example of exuberant violinistic language and full subjection of the orchestra in Torelli's production can be found in the violin concerto A.2.3.10. This is one of the concertos copied by Pisendel: the solos are technically more demanding – use of high positions, ascending lines to be performed on one string; the space given to the soloist is even larger – there is also a cadenza 'a capriccio' to be improvised in the last movement (since in the manuscript only the first bars of the cadenza are written out, leaving the rest of it to the fantasy of the performer).



5) The fact that this concerto presents two viola parts does not make it incompatible with Torelli. It is true that in all the works that he saw to the press during his lifetime he used only one viola part. While the publication of a collection of concertos with double viola part in the orchestra (e.g., Albinoni op. 5, Vivaldi op. 3) looks like a Venetian trend at the beginning of the XVIII century, it is well known that the double viola part was at that time still a common performance practice in Bologna, and the career of Torelli himself testifies to that, since he was hired in 1686 in the orchestra of San Petronio as a tenor viola player. Moreover, many of his compositions for San Petronio, now held in the Archivio of the church, contain double viola parts (e.g., Sonata for strings A.11.1.28/GieT 46, Concerto for two oboes and two trumpets A.9.1.6/GieT 31), equally easy to find also in the instrumentation used by Giovanni Paolo Colonna and Giacomo Antonio Perti.




Furthermore, there are few aspects in this Concerto that are not common to the Vivaldian way of writing. The opening exposition of the subject of the third movement (from bar 55 to bar 58) is entrusted only to the solo violin part without any accompaniment. I did not find any comparable case in Vivaldi's output of concertos, while it is a recurrent compositional technique used by Torelli. The sound of the solo trumpet that breaks the prayerful silence in the naves of San Petronio must have been a powerful experience, imprinted in the imagination of Torelli as a composer, who made large use of this tool. In several cases, and for different kinds of instrumentation, the exposition of the musical material is left to the soloist, alone, either for movements characterized by a fugato or imitative motif (e.g. in the Concerto for trumpet A.2.2.1/GieT 1, second movement; in the Concerto for 4 violins A.11.1.15/GieT 51, second movement; Concerto for 2 violins op. 8 no. 2 A.5.2.7/GieT 154, first and second movements) or simply as an expedient way to point out dynamic and timbre contrasts between one or two solo instruments and the tutti (e.g. Concerto for two trumpets A.5.1.2/GieT 15, first and fourth movements; Concerto for two trumpets A.5.1.5/GieT 19, first movement; Concerto for two violins op. 8 no. 1 A.5.2.1/GieT 153, first movement).

Another characteristic of the concerto in D minor is the lack of what Hutchings called “kinetic recurrence”, which is one of the major features of the Venetian school and particularly of Vivaldi (already from L'Estro Armonico op. 3). The themes used by Vivaldi for the external movements of his concertos are usually structured in rhythmic-melodic segments, so that when the theme is re-proposed during the same movement it can be presented in a fragmented way – sometimes almost as a stretto – in order to create the impression of a ritornello in the listener, but without the need of presenting again the thematic subject in its entirety: this is a very effective invention, that creates an increase of the compositional rhythm. However, this is a compositional tool that is not used amongst Bolognese composers and neither by Torelli, as far as I could observe.


1) Even if there are no other concertos by Torelli that present such a number of movements, it is possible to find affinities between the concerto in D minor and the sonatesinfonie and concertos that he wrote for the Musical Chapel of San Petronio in the form used. Torelli certainly emancipated the concerto grosso and the soloistic concerto from the Baroque sonata, structuring it in the “abstract” form in three movements, but his use of this form was still very flexible and experimental. Regarding Torelli's composition for San Petronio, Marc Vanscheeuwijck in “The Cappella Musicale of San Petronio under Giovanni Paolo Colonna” outlined the following structure34:



Valentini (Florence 1681 – Rome 1753) was a composer, violinist and poet active in Rome. As he claims in one of his sonnets published in 1708, he was a pupil of Giovanni Bononcini, who was a player of the orchestra of San Petronio (he got admitted in 1687, one year later than Torelli), member of the Accademia Filarmonica and active at the court of Francesco II d'Este in Modena. Giovanni Bononcini was very close to Torelli, since not only they were both part of the same environment in Bologna but they both worked together in Vienna at the court of Leopold I, between 1699 and 1701.

Valentini's op. 7 was published in Bologna in 1710 by Marino Silvani, who was the same editor of Torelli's op. 4 (1688-1690) and the posthumous op. 8 (1709).

If these clues could just open the possibility to imagining the hypothesis of a concrete connection between Valentini's concerto op. 7 no. 11 and the violin concerto in D minor A.2.3.9, that would imply that the year of publication of Valentini's op. 7 could be considered as a terminus ante quem [a limit befor which], in favour of an attribution to Torelli in this case. 

So it could be, then, plausible the hypothesis of an homage from a young composer, fresh in the new genre of the solo concertos - such as Valentini - to the father of it, died only one year before. 

This scheme shows three movements, in which the second is multisectional. At times, a short slow movement – usually a Largo, with a cantabile and lyric character – may be included in between the sections of the second one, in order to surprise the audience by breaking the general symmetry with an ulterior element of variety. The form of the concerto in D minor, although unusual, is not far from the scheme presented above.

If we consider the third movement, Allegro (bar 55), as the first movement of the scheme – with Ritornello form, in this case – the second multisectional movement would be composed of: the Adagio, chordal (bar 122); the Andante, which is a sort of slow Perfidia (bar 127); Largo, as the slow cantabile insertion (bar 156); and a kind of chordal conclusive Adagio (from the upbeat of bar 163 to bar 166). The third and last movement would be the last Allegro – with Ritornello form (bar 167).

The first two movements of the concerto would then depart from this scheme. However they can be interpreted as an introductory episode, formed by a Perfidia – Allegro (bar 6), placed in the frame of an homorhytmic tutti – respectively: the opening Adagio (bar 1) and the corresponding homorhytmic section from bar 37 to bar 41 (with its conclusive coda, entrusted to the bass instruments, bar 41-48), and an Adagio (bar 49) which has the function of soothing the dramatic and nervous tension of the opening, building an harmonic one to be resolved in the following movement.

As has already been pointed out in Chapter 2, Torelli introduced the systematic use of the Perfidia in his concerto-form. These virtuosistic and improvisation-like episodes are characterized by the fact that they are not related, in what concerns the musical material, to what comes before and after, and it could be that they were composed separately from the rest of the composition as is proven by the existence of three manuscripts of Perfidie for two violins and basso continuo in the Archivio di San Petronio in order to be performed whenever it was necessary, at the very beginning of the composition or in the middle of it, according to the needs of the services in the church. If this was the common practice in San Petronio, the opening of the concerto in D minor could be seen as a concerted introduction written out extensively, almost like a Sinfonia d'Opera.

The second one is the diminished seventh chord descending arpeggio of bar 115 and 119 in the solo violin part in the third movement of the concerto in D minor, which is quite of a striking figure since it is presented by the solo violin alone, over one quarter of rest of the whole orchestra.

Bars 5 and 13 in the penultimate movement of Valentini's concerto look like a possible quotation of this element. 

One last clue that links this concerto to Torelli and to the Bolognese environment is the twofold possible quotation of this violin concerto included in the concerto for four violins op. 7 no. 11 by Giuseppe Valentini35The first one is represented by the close imitation, with the element of the ascending scale of seven semiquavers and a jump of a third, that appears in all the voices consecutively in bars 58-60, 79-81, 99-101 in the third movement of our concerto in D minor, which is similarly proposed by Valentini in bars 84-86 and 182-185 in the second movement of his concerto for four violins - as it is shown by Fig. 20  and Fig. 21. 


Fig. 21 Giuseppe Valentini, Concerto for four violins op. 7 no. 11, II mov., bars 182-185. 

Fig. 20 Violin concerto in D minor A.2.3.9 / RV 813, III mov., bars 79-81.

Fig. 22 Violin concerto in D minor A.2.3.9 / RV 813, III mov., bar 115. The diminished seventh broken chord is presented in the solo violin part, over one quarter of rest for the other parts of the orchestra. 

Fig. 19 General scheme of the structure of the movements in Torelli's concertos. 

Counter Thesis

Fig. 23 Giuseppe Valentini, Concerto for four violins op. 7 no. 11, VI mov., bar. 5. The dimished seventh broken chord becomes the thematic motif of this slow movement, always presented by one of the soloist alone, without orchestral accompaniment.