Aside from his numerous flute concertos (including the six of the famous Op. 10), Vivaldi's catalogue includes three unpublished concerti for ottavino (piccolo) without opus number (the autograph manuscripts are to be found in the Turin Library), which are practically unique in Italian Baroque music. For this unusual soloist, Vivaldi 'imposes runs of great volubility and perilous breaks' (Marc Pincherle) in his allegros whilst also revealing, in the slow movements, 'the instrument's unsuspected expressive possibilities'.
Even though not initially written for piccolo, the other three concertos that round out this programme are particularly well suited to the instrument. The one in A minor (P. 77) was originally a concerto da camera for recorder, two violins - in a tight dialogue with intentionally parallel parts - and bass. The Concerto in C minor (P. 440) had also been written for recorder whereas the Concerto for two flutes in C major (P. 76) called for two transverse flutes. All three feature two particularly nimble and voluble - even spectacular - fast movements flanking a mysterious, questioning or serene nocturnal cantilena. But, in addition, each one takes on a clearly pronounced character: playful and mischievous in the case of the Concerto in A minor, dramatic for the one in C minor, and festive and cheerful in the Concerto for two flutes.