Antonio Vivaldi Antonio Vivaldi was born on March 4,1678 to Giovanni Battista Vivaldi and Camilla Calicchio in Venice, Italy.
Childhood of Antonio Vivaldi Vivaldi came from a poor family. He was taught how to play violin at a young age by his father Giovanni Battista Vivaldi. He began this education at the age of 14 or 15 and became a priest 10 years later.
Early Adult Years of AntonioVivaldi In 1703 he became a teacher at the Ospedale della Pieta (a home for the female offspring of noblemen and their mistresses). The Ospedale della Pieta was considered to be the best of the four Ospedali in Venice. He was promoted to Director of Concerts. His position at the Ospedale was renewed every year.
The Mid-Adult Years of Antonio Vivaldi Antonio staged his first opera, Ottone in Villa, in 1713 in Vicenza. He began to travel to many city and state around 1717. In 1730 he travelled to Prague with his father and a friend. There he met a Venetian opera company. His popularity began to decline the 1730’s and in 1738 he was dismissed from his position at the Ospedale della Pieta.
Works of Vivaldi Vivaldi premiered eight operas in Venice and Florence. He wrote concertos for the Ospedale and was required to send two concertos per month to them in Venice.
Four Seasons The Four Seasons are the most famous of the concertos written by Antonio Vivaldi. No. 1 in E Major, “Spring” has three movements - Allegro, Largo, Allegro (Pastorale Dance). The second concerto, representing summer, is Concerto No. 2 in G Minor. No. 3 in F Major, “Autumn” contains three movements Allegro (Peasant Dance and Song), Adagio Molto (Sleeping Drunkards), and Allegro (The Hunt). No. 4 in F Minor, “Winter” has three movements – Allegro non Molto, Largo, and Allegro.
Spring Allegro “Springtime is upon us. The birds celebrate her return with festive song, and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes. Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven, Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.” Largo “On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.” Allegro “Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes, nymphs and shepherds lightly dance beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.”
Summer Allegro non molto “Beneath the blazing suns relentless heat men and flocks are sweltering, pines are scorched. We hear the cuckoos voice; then sweet songs of the turtle dove and finch are heard. Soft breezes stir the air….but threatening north wind sweeps them suddenly aside. The shepherd trembles, fearful of violent storm and what may lie ahead.” Adagio e piano - Presto e forte “His limbs are now awakened from their repose by fear of lightnings flash and thunders roar, as gnats and flies buzz furiously around.” Presto “Alas, his worst fears were justified, as the heavens roar and great hailstones beat down upon the proudly standing corn.”
Autumn Allegro “The peasant celebrates with song and dance the harvest safely gathered in. The cup of Bacchus flows freely, and many find their relief in deep slumber.” Adagio molto “The singing and the dancing die away as cooling breezes fan the pleasant air, inviting all to sleep without a care.” Allegro “The hunters emerge at dawn, ready for the chase, with horns and dogs and cries. Their quarry flees while they give chase.
Winter Allegro non molto “Shivering, frozen mid the frosty snow in biting, stinging winds; running to and fro to stamp ones icy feet, teeth chattering in the bitter chill.” Largo “To rest contentedly beside the hearth, while those outside are drenched by pouring rain.” Allegro “We tread the icy path slowly and cautiously, for fear of tripping and falling. Then turn abruptly, slip, crash on the ground and, rising, hasten on across the ice lest it cracks up. We feel the chill north winds coarse through the home despite the locked and bolted doors… this is winter, which nonetheless brings its own delights.”
Listening Guide – Spring 3rdMovement 0:00 Introduction: The introduction 2:06 The violin plays a solo alone. The features the strings playing a conjunct notes are played in a rapid, separated melody with a tempo of andante. The key is manner. There is imitation in the melody of major and it is played mezzo-forté. There is the solo. imitation in the melody when it is repeated in 2:17 The strings enter to play harmony for a dynamic of piano. The dynamic returns to the violin solo. Both the solo and the mezzo-forté with a variation on the melody. harmony are played with the rapid detached This variation is repeated piano. manner. There is a slight diminuendo and 0:34 The violin solo begins here. The first slowing of the tempo at the end of the solo. portion of the solo is played fluidly. The violin 2:30 The dynamic becomes mezzo-forté then repeats the same notes in a more and the melody is repeated. A variation on separated or detached form. The the melody is played in a minor key with a harpsichord is providing the harmony for the resolution to major. There is also a variation violin solo. on the melody in the harmony that is being 0:57 The strings enter playing a variation played. of the melody in mezzo-forté. Again, there is 3:08 The violin plays another solo, with the imitation with a change in dynamics from notes being played in a fluid manner. There mezzo-forté to piano. The strings have a is repetition of the melody with a change in harmonic melody just before the change to the dynamics. the violin solo. 3:30 The strings and harpsichord enter 1:31 This is the start of another short violin again. The melody is played again mezzo- solo. The notes are played rapidly in a forté. It is imitated with a dynamic of piano. detached manner. The music then becomes At the ending of the piece, there is a more fluid. Another violin is playing harmony diminuendo. for the violin solo. Variations on the melody 4:03 end are played by the violin and the strings.
Listening Guide – Autumn 1stMovement 0:00 Introduction: The introduction 1:28 The violin solo continues, but slower features the violin playing a conjunct melody sections in the solo are interspersed with the with a tempo of moderato. The key is major faster sections. The contrast of the fast and and it played forte. There is a balance of slow sections contains a wide range of repetition in the melody. The quality of the pitches. sound is consonance which is pleasing to the 1:57 A variation on the melody is played ear. There is imitation in the melody, wherein here, with the same method of playing forté the dynamic changes from forté to piano. and piano. The melody then has a slight change, but still 2:18 The violin solo comes in again. Only repeats with it played the first time forté and the violin and harpsichord are playing at this the second time piano. The first melody is time. then repeated in the same manner. 2:42 The rest of the strings come in with 0:38 A variation on the melody starts here. variations on the melody. The tempo is still moderato. The melody is played forté and is repeated piano. The 3:02 The violin solo starts again. The music then repeats a variation on the melody tempo changes to Lento. This solo section is which was played in the introduction. It is very emotional. It is very relaxing in contrast again played forté and repeated piano. to the lively joyful melody and its variations. 1:03 A violin solo starts here. The violin 3:09 The tempo of the violin solo changes solo is a nice contrast to the repetition of the to Lento. The harpsichord is absent and the melody we have heard previously. The violin violin is accompanied by strings. will play a section presto, which is then 4:20 The original melody from the followed by a brief reference to the melody. introduction is played again, with the repetition and dynamic changes from forté to piano. 4:41 end.
Listening Guide – Winter 1stMovement 0:00 Introduction: The introduction begins 1:12 The dynamic becomes forté and with the strings playing quarter notes in a the main melody of the piece is played tempo of allegro. The key is minor and the with eighth notes. music begins with a dynamic of piano. There 1:31 The violin solo begins with violin is dissonance which resolves by the end of this section. There is a crescendo to the solo with repetition. There is a contrast dynamic of mezzo-piano. with some of the solo being played in a detached manner and some played more 0:38 The violin comes in with dynamic fluidly. There is repetition with a variation of forté. The strings and harpsichord are in dynamics. A slight crescendo followed absent. The notes are played fluidly in by a diminuendo. rapid succession. The strings then come in again at a dynamic of mezzo- 2:00 The strings come in with the forté, playing the dissonant eighth notes dissonant chords which resolve into while the violin rests. This separation of consonance. violin solo and dissonant chords is 2:19 The violin comes in again with repeated three times, with the melody of another solo. This is followed with more the violin starting at a higher pitch each dissonant chords which resolve. time. 2:56 The music returns to the main 1:01 The strings again play dissonant melody with a dynamic of forte. There is chords, starting at a dynamic of piano. a slight slowing of the tempo, ending on a There is a crescendo to mezzo-forté. major chord. The dissonance resolves. 3:20 end.
Reference Slide http://www.baroquemusic.org/vivaldiseasons.h tml http://www.musickit.com/resources/compmonvi v.html http://www.personal.psu.edu/asg198/assignme nt5b.html http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Vivaldi.htm http://www.baroquemusic.org/bqxvivaldi.html http://www.mcs.csueastbay.edu/~malek/Musici an/Vivaldi.html Photographs by Sharlene C. Wells