University of Southampton research fellow Andrew Woolley stumbled across the score of a Vivaldi flute concerto among papers housed in the National Archive of Scotland in Edinburgh. “This piece was previously known only from a mention in the sale catalogue of an 18th-century Dutch bookseller. Discovering that it is actually in existence is unexpected and hugely exciting,” he said. The concerto is named Il Gran Mogol and is a cornerstone of a quartet of “national” concertos (the others celebrate France, Spain and England, but alas they are have not come to light). The score is virtually complete: a part for second violin had to be reconstructed using another manuscript that appears to be based on the same concerto.
How the concerto came to Scotland remains unclear, but it’s thought the manuscript was the property of the flute-playing Lord Robert Kerr, son of the 3rd Marquess of Lothian, who undertook the Grand Tour in the early 1700s. It was then acquired by the National Archives of Scotland along with other family papers belonging to the Marquesses of Lothian in 1991.
The concerto will be given its first performance in modern times at Perth Concert Hall in Scotland on January 26 next year when the Gramophone Award-winning ensemble La Serenissima and Adrian Chandler will be joined by flautist Katy Bircher. They will then record the work using Andrew Woolley’s new edition, published by Edition HH.