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ViWaterLily bigvaldi liked challenges.

He liked to show off his great skills on the violin, playing fast and at times at very high pitches, close to the bridge. This is well attested. Also he liked to challenge his best students with hard and captivating tasks, which is demonstrated in numerous pieces (e.g. RV 346, among others). While not explicitly documented for the present piece, it also adapts well to the challenges we shall demonstrate here.

The Vivaldi piece for our challenge is joyful and adventurous. It is the second movement "Fantasia" of the Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo by Antonio Vivaldi RV 9 (published 1709), given in extenso below. It is marked presto.

In addition, we present a second, more complex adaptation of this movement. For this version, Vivaldi's equally-spaced bars were converted into unequally-spaced bars, and two G-scale passages were placed into the root passage which is written in D major, like the original. In comparison to the original, the adapted version seems a bit "zippier", but it is longer and more difficult to perform.

In Vivaldi's spirit of friendly challenges, we wish to see how one can master these two presto passages.

And how fast would that be? Presto should be incredibly fast. In modern terms and according to Wikipedia, this should be at 168–200 bpm. In Vivaldi's time, when time was measured more in terms of human capacities than as precise beats per second, we may think of presto as "as fast as possible". A good comparson in Vivaldi's contemporary terms is given by the presto passage of his "Summer" in "The Four Seasons" (RV 315). The performance by Anne-Sophie Mutter is particularly memorable and well worth watching (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=124NoPUBDvA).

So, let's see. How fast can you play our two presto passages – without missing any notes and while still maintaining appropriate durations? Can you also slow down considerably and still maintain the same proportional durations?

Both pieces are performed at the same beats per minute, 110 bpm for the first part and 130 bpm for the second. All audio settings are kept the same.

 

Vivaldi RV 9 "Fantasia":

 

EKeller_Vivaldi "Venetian Solo Practice":

 

 

Sheets

Vivaldi, A: erickeller.ch/media/ek/sheets/Vivaldi_Sonata_RV9_2_Fantasia.pdf

Keller, E: erickeller.ch/media/ek/sheets/EKellerVivaldi_VenetianSoloPractice.pdf

 

Image

Water lily, courtesy of all-free-download.com