The solo concerto, a vast and important repertory of the early to mid eighteenth century, is known generally only through a dozen concertos by Vivaldi and a handful of works by Albinoni and Marcello. The authors aim to bring this repertory to greater prominence and have, since 1995, been involved in a research programme of scoring and analysing over nine hundred concertos, representing nearly the entire repertory available in early prints and manuscripts. Drawing on this research, they present a detailed study and analysis of the first-movement ritornello form, the central concept that enabled composers to develop musical thinking on a large scale. Their approach is firstly to present the ritornello form as a rhetorical argument, a musical process that dynamically unfolds in time; and secondly to challenge notions of a linear stylistic development from baroque to classical, instead discovering composers trying out different options, which might themselves become norms against which new experiments could be made.
McVeigh, Simon; Hirshberg, Jehoash (2004) The Italian Solo Concerto, 1700–1760: Rhetorical Strategies and Style History. Available at http://openmusiclibrary.org/book/13/.