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Vivaldi concerto, lost for 300 years, found in Scotland

Vivaldi concerto: The extraordinary find, a 300-year-old copy of the Italian Baroque composer's original manuscript, comprises the parts for "Il Gran Mogol," one of a quartet of national concertos.

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Musical scores for Vivaldi's flute concerto "Il Gran Mogol" are seen in a photo released October 7. A lost flute concerto by 18th century composer and virtuoso violinist Antonio Vivaldi has been discovered by an academic among a set of dusty papers housed in Scotland’s National Archives in Edinburgh.

National Archives of Scotland/Reuters

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A lost flute concerto by 18th century composer and virtuoso violinist Antonio Vivaldi has been discovered by an academic among a set of dusty papers housed in Scotland's National Archives in Edinburgh.

The extraordinary find, a 300-year-old copy of the Italian Baroque composer's original manuscript, comprises the parts for "Il Gran Mogol," one of a quartet of national concertos.

The others, entitled "La Francia," "La Spagna" and "L'Inghilterro" remain lost.

The musical score, which scholars believe may never have been performed, was found and authenticated by Southampton University research fellow Andrew Woolley.

"This piece was previously known only from a mention in the sale catalog of an 18th-century Dutch bookseller. Discovering that it is actually in existence is unexpected and hugely exciting," Woolley said.

Peter Franklin, spokesman for the University of Southampton, said: "this is an 18th century published copy of the original, so it's not in Vivaldi's own hand, but we don't know of any other copy in existence."

The work is almost complete, missing just a part of the second violin. Woolley was able to reconstruct the missing part by referring to another Vivaldi flute concerto, kept in Turin in Italy, which he said appeared to be a rework of the original.

Academics are puzzled as to how it arrived in Scotland.

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One theory is that it was acquired by flute-playing nobleman Lord Robert Kerr, son of the 3rd Marquess of Lothian, on a Grand Tour of Europe in the early 1700s.

The manuscript was preserved among the family papers of the Marquesses of Lothian and bought by the National Archives in 1991 where it has lain ever since.

The concerto will be played for the first time in Perth Concert Hall, Scotland, in January.

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