What is a Cadenza?

The baroque and classical composers included in their concertos a spot where the orchestra could stop, and the performer was on his own to improvise on the theme of the movement he had just performed, in order to show off his virtuosity, but also his ability to improvise. This was the Cadenza. Antonio Vivaldi wrote several student concertos, possibly for his students. On this video, my student, Ryan is playing the 1st movement of the Vivaldi A minor concerto, which is a student concerto. I took the liberty to designate a spot for Ryan to add in his own improvised cadenza. Ryan’s cadenza is a little different each time he does it.

This video was taken at one of my students monthly play-ins. We get together informally and play what has been prepared for the occasion, like an informal recital, at Everyday Joe’s, a local coffee house. There is background noise from the coffee house patrons, but do enjoy anyway!