Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Cross, Eric. "Vivaldi's Operatic Borrowings." Music and Letters 59 (October 1978): 429-39.

Vivaldi lived in an age in which plagiarism was openly condoned, so it is not surprising that borrowing of material should represent an important aspect of his output. This practice was largely provoked by the incessant demand for novelty in the opera house and also accounts, at least partly, for the legendary speed at which he composed. Vivaldi compiled several operas from arias by composers such as Hasse, Giacomelli, Leo, Handel, Pergolesi, and Vinci, linking them with newly composed sections of recitative. Occasionally, as in Rosamira of 1738, he claimed the composition as his own. Vivaldi's constant re-use in his operas of material from his own compositions is perhaps most obvious in his introductory sinfonias and concertos. Instrumental and vocal works frequently share the same ritornello material, although it is often impossible to tell which was written first. The most common type of borrowing is the revival of earlier operatic material. Usually it is restricted to individual arias and excludes the preceding recitative. Although in many cases arias are re-used without alteration, except perhaps for new words, in other instances the musical text itself is changed. Sometimes a borrowed aria appears in a similar dramatic context, but in many cases the contexts are different, and often it seems to be one particular idea in the text that suggests the borrowing. Occasionally, ensembles are also adapted for re-use.

Index Classifications: 1700s

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