From that very musical country Australia comes the following scoop.....
'Just when the music world thought it knew every note of 18th century composer Antonio Vivaldi, a Melbourne University researcher has unearthed an important new work. Described by Vivaldi experts as the biggest find in 75 years, musicologist Janice Stockigt noticed a piece of music with distinctive bass, rhythmic and harmonic patterns in a German library in May. The music was ascribed in 1754 to composer Baldassare Galuppi. Dr Stockigt wrote in her diary, "Is this a Vivaldi?" and for the next few months followed an international trail uncovering forgery and plagiarism, much of it at the hands of an unscrupulous Venetian priest, Iseppo Baldan.
Today (August 9th) at the university's early music studio, countertenor Christopher Field, accompanied by musicians of the university's Baroque Ensemble, will play about five minutes of the 35-minute work in what is believed to be its first performance in 250 years. The work is an 11-movement Dixit Dominus based on Psalm 109 for choir and orchestra, intended to be played in church. Dr Stockigt suspects that because of a lack of additional notation on the score, this might be the first performance ever. A full performance is scheduled next year in Dresden, where Dr Stockigt discovered the manuscript in the music department of the state technical university. This will form part of the city's 800th anniversary celebrations.
When she made the discovery, Dr Stockigt had been in the last days of a five-year research project on the Catholic Church music played at the court of the German royal house of Saxony. Vivaldi was one of history's most prolific composers, with more than 800 works attributed to him, from operas to liturgical pieces. He had a distinctive style and Dr Stockigt said that after recognising the musical language, she also saw that the title page of the work was in the equally distinctive hand of the priest Baldan, who ran a music transcription house. Vivaldi had died impoverished in 1741 but Baldan had two of Vivaldi's nephews working as copyists. "It's likely that as soon as news of his death reached Venice, Vivaldi's nephews picked over his belongings - including music - before Venetian authorities made an inventory of their uncle's possessions," she said.
Dr Stockigt said Galuppi's work was in enormous demand from the Catholic court of Dresden and she suspected that Baldan was unable to keep up with demand - so he simply slipped in some Vivaldi either given to him by, or bought from, the nephews. She said the clincher to the music's source was provided by Federico Maria Sardelli, a key member of the editorial committee of the Vivaldi Institute. "He pointed out that the sixth movement of the newly discovered work was virtually identical to an aria in one of the composer's operas, La Fida Ninfa, performed in 1732," she said.
Many thanks to Elisabeth Lopez at The Age newspaper in Melbourne for giving on an overgrown path the heads-up on that very interesting story, which I've quoted verbatim. The Age's music pages are worth checking out for news from a part of the world we don't hear enough about.
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