LONDON - A lost flute concerto by Antonio Vivaldi, the 18th century Italian composer famous for "The Four Seasons", has been discovered among the papers of a Scottish nobleman, researchers said Thursday.
The existence of "Il Gran Mogol" had been known about for nearly 300 years but the manuscript has only now been unearthed in the papers kept in the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh.
The piece, found by Andrew Woolley, a researcher from Southampton University in southern England, will now be performed for the first time in Perth, Scotland, in January.
"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," Woolley said.
He said it was one of a quartet and the remaining three concertos have yet to surface.
The manuscript is believed to have been acquired by Lord Robert Kerr, a flute-playing Scottish nobleman, while visiting Europe in the early 1700s, and was found in papers owned by his descendants.
Woolley said the work was missing a piece for second violin but he has reconstructed it using the manuscript of a later flute concerto that apparently reworked "Il Gran Mogol".
Scottish Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop hailed the "remarkable" discovery, adding: "With no evidence that the piece has ever been played, I welcome the news that its premiere will be in Scotland."