Antonio VivaldiAntonio Lucio Vivaldi Italian pronunciation: anˈtɔːnjo ˈluːtʃo viˈvaldi (4 March 1678 – 28July 1741), nicknamed il Prete Rosso ("The Red Priest") because of his red hair, wasan Italian Baroque composer, Catholic priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice.Recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, his influence during hislifetime was widespread over Europe. Vivaldi is known mainly for composinginstrumental concertos, especially for the violin, as well as sacred choral works andover forty operas. His best known work is a series of violin concertos known as TheFour Seasons.Many of his compositions were written for the female music ensemble of theOspedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi had beenemployed from 1703 to 1715 and from 1723 to 1740. Vivaldi also had some successwith stagings of his operas in Venice, Mantua and Vienna. After meeting the EmperorCharles VI, Vivaldi moved to Vienna, hoping for preferment. The Emperor died soonafter Vivaldis arrival.Though Vivaldis music was well received during his lifetime, it later declined inpopularity until its vigorous revival in the first half of the 20th century. Today, Vivaldiranks among the most popular and widely recorded of Baroque composers.•ChildhoodThe church where Vivaldi was baptised: San Giovanni Battista in Bragora, Sestiere diCastello, VeniceAntonio Lucio Vivaldi was born in 1678 in Venice,1then the capital of the Republic ofVenice. He was baptized immediately after his birth at his home by the midwife,which led to a belief that his life was somehow in danger. Though not known forcertain, the childs immediate baptism was most likely due either to his poor health orto an earthquake that shook the city that day. In the trauma of the earthquake,Vivaldis mother may have dedicated him to the priesthood.2Vivaldis official churchbaptism took place two months later.3Vivaldis parents were Giovanni Battista Vivaldi and Camilla Calicchio, as recorded inthe register of San Giovanni in Bragora.4Vivaldi had five siblings: Margarita Gabriela,Cecilia Maria, Bonaventura Tomaso, Zanetta Anna, and Francesco Gaetano.5Giovanni Battista, who was a barber before becoming a professional violinist, taughtAntonio to play the violin and then toured Venice playing the violin with his youngson. Antonio was probably taught at an early age, judging by the extensive musicalknowledge he had acquired by the age of 24, when he started working at the
Ospedale della Pietà.6Giovanni Battista was one of the founders of the Sovvegnodei musicisti di Santa Cecilia, an association of musicians.7From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaThe president of the Sovvegno was Giovanni Legrenzi, an early Baroque composerand the maestro di cappella at St Marks Basilica. It is possible that Legrenzi gave theyoung Antonio his first lessons in composition. The Luxembourg scholar WalterKolneder has discerned the influence of Legrenzis style in Vivaldis early liturgicalwork Laetatus sum (RV Anh 31), written in 1691 at the age of thirteen. Vivaldis fathermay have been a composer himself: in 1689, an opera titled La Fedeltà sfortunatawas composed by a Giovanni Battista Rossi - the name under which Vivaldis fatherhad joined the Sovvegno di Santa Cecilia.8Dominic Patric DE NEUVILLEÜbersetzungsbüro TRANSIT translation services Zurich Switzerlandwww.transitweb.chVivaldis health was problematic. His symptoms, strettezza di petto ("tightness of thechest"), have been interpreted as a form of asthma.3This did not prevent him fromlearning to play the violin, composing or taking part in musical activities,3although itdid stop him from playing wind instruments. In 1693, at the age of fifteen, he beganstudying to become a priest.9He was ordained in 1703, aged 25. He was soonnicknamed il Prete Rosso, "The Red Priest", because of his red hair.10"Rosso" isItalian for "Red", and would have referred to the colour of his hair, a family trait. Notlong after his ordination, in 1704, he was given a dispensation from celebrating Massbecause of his ill health. Vivaldi only said Mass as a priest a few times. He appearsto have withdrawn from priestly duties, but he remained a priest.At the Conservatorio dellOspedale della PietàIn September 1703, Vivaldi became maestro di violino (master of violin) at anorphanage called the Pio Ospedale della Pietà (Devout Hospital of Mercy) in Venice.1While Vivaldi is most famous as a composer, he was regarded as an exceptionaltechnical violinist as well. The German architect Johann Friedrich Armand vonUffenbach referred to Vivaldi as "the famous composer and violinist" and said that"Vivaldi played a solo accompaniment excellently, and at the conclusion he added afree fantasy an improvised cadenza which absolutely astounded me, for it is hardlypossible that anyone has ever played, or ever will play, in such a fashion."11Vivaldi was only 25 when he started working at the Ospedale della Pietà. Over thenext thirty years he composed most of his major works while working there.12Therewere four similar institutions in Venice; their purpose was to give shelter andeducation to children who were abandoned or orphaned, or whose families could notsupport them. They were financed by funds provided by the Republic.13The boyslearned a trade and had to leave when they reached 15. The girls received a musicaleducation, and the most talented stayed and became members of the Ospedalesrenowned orchestra and choir.
Shortly after Vivaldis appointment, the orphans began to gain appreciation andesteem abroad, too. Vivaldi wrote concertos, cantatas and sacred vocal music forthem.14These sacred works, which number over 60, are varied: they included solomotets and large-scale choral works for soloists, double chorus, and orchestra.15In1704, the position of teacher of viola allinglese was added to his duties as violininstructor.16The position of maestro di coro, which was at one time filled by Vivaldi,required a lot of time and work. He had to compose an oratorio or concerto at everyfeast and teach the orphans both music theory and how to play certain instruments.17His relationship with the board of directors of the Ospedale was often strained. Theboard had to take a vote every year on whether to keep a teacher. The vote onVivaldi was seldom unanimous, and went 7 to 6 against him in 1709.18After a year asa freelance musician, he was recalled by the Ospedale with a unanimous vote in1711; clearly during his years absence the board realized the importance of hisrole.18He became responsible for all of the musical activity of the institution19whenhe was promoted to maestro di concerti (music director) in 1716.20In 1705, the first collection (Connor Cassara) of his works was published byGiuseppe Sala:21his Opus 1 is a collection of 12 sonatas for two violins and bassocontinuo, in a conventional style.16In 1709, a second collection of 12 sonatas forviolin and basso continuo appeared, his Opus 2.22A real breakthrough as acomposer came with his first collection of 12 concerti for one, two, and four violinswith strings, Lestro armonico Opus 3, which was published in Amsterdam in 1711 byEstienne Roger,23dedicated to Grand Prince Ferdinand of Tuscany. The princesponsored many musicians including Alessandro Scarlatti and George FridericHandel. He was a musician himself, and Vivaldi probably met him in Venice.24Lestroarmonico was a resounding success all over Europe. It was followed in 1714 by Lastravaganza Opus 4, a collection of concerti for solo violin and strings,25dedicated toan old violin student of Vivaldis, the Venetian noble Vettor Dolfin.26Dominic Patric DE NEUVILLEÜbersetzungsbüro TRANSIT translation services Zurich Switzerlandwww.transitweb.chIn February 1711, Vivaldi and his father traveled to Brescia, where his setting of theStabat Mater (RV 621) was played as part of a religious festival. The work seems tohave been written in haste: the string parts are simple, the music of the first threemovements is repeated in the next three, and not all the text is set. Nevertheless,perhaps in part because of the forced essentiality of the music, the work is one of hisearly masterpieces.Despite his frequent travels from 1718, the Pietà paid him 2 sequins to write twoconcerti a month for the orchestra and to rehearse with them at least five times whenin Venice. The Pietàs records show that he was paid for 140 concerti between 1723and 1733.Opera impresario
First ion of Juditha triumphans27In early 18th century Venice, opera was the most popular musical entertainment. Itproved most profitable for Vivaldi. There were several theaters competing for thepublics attention. Vivaldi started his career as an opera composer as a sideline: hisfirst opera, Ottone in villa (RV 729) was performed not in Venice, but at the GarzerieTheater in Vicenza in 1713.28The following year, Vivaldi became the impresario ofthe Teatro SantAngelo in Venice, where his opera Orlando finto pazzo (RV 727) wasperformed. The work was not to the publics taste, and it closed after a couple ofweeks, being replaced with a repeat of a different work already given the previousyear.24In 1715, he presented Nerone fatto Cesare (RV 724, now lost), with music by sevendifferent composers, of which he was the leader. The opera contained eleven arias,and was a success. In the late season, Vivaldi planned to put on an opera composedentirely by him, Arsilda, regina di Ponto (RV 700), but the state censor blocked theperformance. The main character, Arsilda, falls in love with another woman, Lisea,who is pretending to be a man.24Vivaldi got the censor to accept the opera thefollowing year, and it was a resounding success.At this period, the Pietà commissioned several liturgical works. The most importantwere two oratorios. Moyses Deus Pharaonis, (RV 643) is lost. The second, Judithatriumphans (RV 644), celebrates the victory of the Republic of Venice against theTurks and the recapture of the island of Corfù. Composed in 1716, it is one of hissacred masterpieces. All eleven singing parts were performed by girls of the Pietà,both the female and male roles. Many of the arias include parts for solo instruments—recorders, oboes, clarinetscitation needed, violas damore, and mandolins—thatshowcased the range of talents of the girls.29Also in 1716, Vivaldi wrote and produced two more operas, Lincoronazione di Dario(RV 719) and La costanza trionfante degli amori e degli odi (RV 706). The latter wasso popular that it performed two years later, re-ed and retitled Artabano re dei Parti(RV 701, now lost). It was also performed in Prague in 1732. In the following years,Vivaldi wrote several operas that were performed all over Italy.His progressive operatic style caused him some trouble with more conservativemusicians, like Benedetto Marcello, a magistrate and amateur musician who wrote apamphlet denouncing him and his operas. The pamphlet, Il teatro alla moda, attacksVivaldi without mentioning him directly. The cover drawing shows a boat (theSantAngelo), on the left end of which stands a little angel wearing a priests hat andplaying the violin. The Marcello family claimed ownership of the Teatro SantAngelo,and a long legal battle had been fought with the management for its restitution,without success. The obscure writing under the picture mentions non-existent placesand names: ALDIVIVA is an anagram of A. Vivaldi.In a letter written by Vivaldi to his patron Marchese Bentivoglio in 1737, he makesreference to his "94 operas". Only around 50 operas by Vivaldi have beendiscovered, and no other documentation of the remaining operas exists. AlthoughVivaldi may have exaggerated, in his dual role of composer and impresario it isplausible that he may either have written or been responsible for the production of asmany as 94 operas during a career which by then had spanned almost 25 years.30
While Vivaldi certainly composed many operas in his time, he never reached theprominence of other great composers like Alessandro Scarlatti, Johann AdolphHasse, Leonardo Leo, and Baldassare Galuppi, as evidenced by his inability to keepa production running for any extended period of time in any major opera house.31His most successful operas were La constanza trionfante and Farnace whichgarnered six revivals each.31Mantua and The Four SeasonsCaricature by P. L. Ghezzi, Rome (1723)32In 1717 or 1718, Vivaldi was offered a new prestigious position as Maestro diCappella of the court of prince Philip of Hesse-Darmstadt, governor of Mantua.33Hemoved there for three years and produced several operas, among which was TitoManlio (RV 738). In 1721, he was in Milan, where he presented the pastoral dramaLa Silvia (RV 734, 9 arias survive). He visited Milan again the following year with theoratorio Ladorazione delli tre re magi al bambino Gesù (RV 645, also lost). In 1722he moved to Rome, where he introduced his operas new style. The new popeBenedict XIII invited Vivaldi to play for him. In 1725, Vivaldi returned to Venice, wherehe produced four operas in the same year.During this period Vivaldi wrote the Four Seasons, four violin concertos depictingscenes appropriate for each season. Three of the concerti are of original conception,while the first, "Spring", borrows motifs from a Sinfonia in the first act of hiscontemporaneous opera "Il Giustino". The inspiration for the concertos was probablythe countryside around Mantua. They were a revolution in musical conception: inthem Vivaldi represented flowing creeks, singing birds (of different species, eachspecifically characterized), barking dogs, buzzing mosquitoes, crying shepherds,storms, drunken dancers, silent nights, hunting parties from both the hunters and thepreys point of view, frozen landscapes, ice-skating children, and warming winterfires. Each concerto is associated with a sonnet, possibly by Vivaldi, describing thescenes depicted in the music. They were published as the first four concertos in acollection of twelve, Il cimento dellarmonia e dellinventione, Opus 8, published inAmsterdam by Le Cène in 1725.During his time in Mantua, Vivaldi became acquainted with an aspiring young singerAnna Tessieri Girò who was to become his student, protégée, and favorite primadonna.34Anna, along with her older half-sister Paolina, became part of Vivaldisentourage and regularly accompanied him on his many travels. There wasspeculation about the nature of Vivaldis and Giros relationship, but no evidence toindicate anything beyond friendship and professional collaboration. Although Vivaldisrelationship with Anna Girò was questioned, he adamantly denied any romanticrelationship in a letter to his patron Bentivoglio dated 16 November 1737.35Later life and death
At the height of his career, Vivaldi received commissions from European nobility androyalty. The wedding cantata Gloria e Imeneo (RV 687) was written for the marriageof Louis XV. Vivaldis Opus 9, La Cetra, was dedicated to Emperor Charles VI. In1728, Vivaldi met the emperor while he was visiting Trieste to oversee theconstruction of a new port. Charles admired the music of the Red Priest so much thathe is said to have spoken more with the composer during their one meeting than hespoke to his ministers in over two years. He gave Vivaldi the title of knight, a goldmedal and an invitation to Vienna. Vivaldi gave Charles a manuscript copy of LaCetra, a set of concerti almost completely different from the set of the same titlepublished as Opus 9. The printing was probably delayed, forcing Vivaldi to gather animprovised collection for the emperor.Frontispiece of Il teatro alla modaAccompanied by his father, Vivaldi traveled to Vienna and Prague in 1730, where hisopera Farnace (RV 711) was presented.36Some of his later operas were created incollaboration with two of Italys major writers of the time. LOlimpiade and Catone inUtica were written by Pietro Metastasio, the major representative of the Arcadianmovement and court poet in Vienna. La Griselda was rewritten by the young CarloGoldoni from an earlier libretto by Apostolo Zeno.Like many composers of the time, the final years of Vivaldis life found him in financialdifficulties. His compositions were no longer held in such high esteem as they oncewere in Venice; changing musical tastes quickly made them outmoded. In response,Vivaldi chose to sell off sizeable numbers of his manuscripts at paltry prices tofinance his migration to Vienna.37The reasons for Vivaldis departure from Venice areunclear, but it seems likely that, after the success of his meeting with EmperorCharles VI, he wished to take up the position of a composer in the imperial court. Onhis way to Vienna, Vivaldi may have stopped in Graz to see Anna Girò.38Dominic Patric DE NEUVILLEÜbersetzungsbüro TRANSIT translation services Zurich Switzerlandwww.transitweb.chIt is also likely that Vivaldi went to Vienna to stage operas, especially as he took upresidence near the Kärntnertortheater. Shortly after his arrival in Vienna, Charles VIdied, which left the composer without any royal protection or a steady source ofincome. Soon afterwards, Vivaldi became impoverished3940and died during the nightof 27/28 July 1741, aged 63,41of "internal infection", in a house owned by the widowof a Viennese saddlemaker. On 28 July he was buried in a simple grave in a burialground that was owned by the public hospital fund. Vivaldis funeral took place at St.Stephens Cathedral, but the young Joseph Haydn had nothing to do with this burial,since no music was performed on that occasion. The cost of his funeral with aKleingeläut was 19 Gulden 45 Kreuzer which was rather expensive for the lowestclass of burials.He was buried next to Karlskirche, in an area which is now part of the site of theTechnical Institute. The house where he lived in Vienna has since been destroyed;
the Hotel Sacher is built on part of the site. Memorial plaques have been placed atboth locations, as well as a Vivaldi "star" in the Viennese Musikmeile and amonument at the Rooseveltplatz.Only three portraits of Vivaldi are known to survive: an engraving, an ink sketch andan oil painting. The engraving, by Francois Morellon La Cave, was made in 1725 andshows Vivaldi holding a sheet of music. The ink sketch was done by Ghezzi in 1723and shows Vivaldis head and shoulders in profile. The oil painting, which can beseen in the Liceo Musicale of Bologna, gives us possibly the most accurate pictureand shows Vivaldis red hair under his blond wig.42Style and influenceVivaldis music was innovative. He brightened the formal and rhythmic structure ofthe concerto, in which he looked for harmonic contrasts and innovative melodies andthemes; many of his compositions are flamboyantly, almost playfully, exuberant.Johann Sebastian Bach was deeply influenced by Vivaldis concertos and arias(recalled in his St John Passion, St Matthew Passion, and cantatas). Bachtranscribed six of Vivaldis concerti for solo keyboard, three for organ, and one forfour harpsichords, strings, and basso continuo (BWV 1065) based upon the concertofor four violins, two violas, cello, and basso continuo (RV 580).Posthumous reputationDuring his lifetime, Vivaldis popularity quickly made him famous in other countries,including France, where musical taste was less dictated by fashion thanelsewhere,citation neededbut after his death the composers popularity dwindled. After theBaroque period, Vivaldis published concerti became relatively unknown and werelargely ignored. Even Vivaldis most famous work, The Four Seasons, was at thattime unknown in its original ion.During the early 20th century, Fritz Kreislers Concerto in C, in the Style of Vivaldi(which he passed off as an original Vivaldi work) helped revive Vivaldis reputation.This spurred the French scholar Marc Pincherle to begin an academic study ofVivaldis oeuvre. Many Vivaldi manuscripts were rediscovered, which were acquiredby the Turin National University Library as a result of the generous sponsorship ofTurinese businessmen Roberto Foa and Filippo Giordano, in memory of their sons.This led to a renewed interest in Vivaldi by, among others, Mario Rinaldi, AlfredoCasella, Ezra Pound, Olga Rudge, Desmond Chute, Arturo Toscanini, ArnoldSchering and Louis Kaufman, all of whom were instrumental in the Vivaldi revival ofthe 20th century.In 1926, in a monastery in Piedmont, researchers discovered fourteen folios ofVivaldis work that were previously thought to have been lost during the NapoleonicWars. Some missing volumes in the numbered set were discovered in the collectionsof the descendants of the Grand Duke Durazzo, who had acquired the monasterycomplex in the 18th century. The volumes contained 300 concertos, 19 operas andover 100 vocal-instrumental works.43
The resurrection of Vivaldis unpublished works in the 20th century is mostly due tothe efforts of Alfredo Casella, who in 1939 organized the historic Vivaldi Week, inwhich the rediscovered Gloria (RV 589) and lOlimpiade were revived. Since WorldWar II, Vivaldis compositions have enjoyed wide success. Historically informedperformances, often on "original instruments", have increased Vivaldis fame stillfurther.Recent rediscoveries of works by Vivaldi include two psalm settings of Nisi Dominus(RV 803, in eight movements) and Dixit Dominus (RV 807, in eleven movements).These were identified in 2003 and 2005 respectively, by the Australian scholar JaniceStockigt. The Vivaldi scholar Michael Talbot described RV 807 as "arguably the bestnonoperatic work from Vivaldis pen to come to light since... ...the 1920s".44Vivaldislost 1730 opera Argippo (RV 697) was rediscovered in 2006 by the harpsichordistand conductor Ondřej Macek, whose Hofmusici orchestra performed the work atPrague Castle on 3 May 2008, its first performance since 1730.Many Vivaldi CatalogsVivaldis works attracted cataloging efforts befitting a major composer. Scholarly workintended to increase the accuracy and variety of Vivaldi performances also supportednew discoveries which made old catalogs incomplete. Works still in circulation todaymay be numbered under several different systems (some earlier catalogs arementioned here).Because the simply consecutive Complete ion (CE) numbers did not reflect theindividual works (Opus numbers) into which compositions were grouped, Fannanumbers were often used in conjunction with CE numbers. Combined Complete ion(CE)/Fanna numbering was especially common in the work of Italian groups drivingthe mid-20th century revival of Vivaldi, such as Gli Accademici di Milano under PieroSanti. For example, the Bassoon Concerto in B-flat major, "La Notte" RV 501,became CE 12, F. VIII,1Despite the awkwardness of having to overlay Fanna numbers onto the Complete ionnumber for meaningful grouping of Vivaldis oeuvre, these numbers displaced theolder Pincherle numbers as the (re-)discovery of more manuscripts had renderedolder catalogs obsolete.This cataloging work was led by the Istituto Italiano Antonio Vivaldi, where GianFrancesco Malipiero was both the Director and the or of the published scores(Edizioni G. Ricordi). His work built on that of Antonio Fanna, a Venetianbusinessman and the Institutes founder, and thus formed a bridge to the scholarlycatalog dominant today.Compositions by Vivaldi are identified today by RV number, the number assigned byDanish musicologist Peter Ryom in works published mostly in the 1970s, such as the"Ryom-Verzeichnis" or "Répertoire des oeuvres dAntonio Vivaldi". Like the Completeion before it, the RV does not typically assign its single, consecutive numbers to"adjacent" works that occupy one of the composers single opus numbers. Its goal asa modern catalog is to index the manuscripts and sources that establish theexistence and nature of all known works. These several numbering systems arecross-referenced at classical.net.
In popular cultureThe movie Vivaldi, a Prince in Venice was completed in 2005 as an Italian-Frenchco-production under the direction of Jean-Louis Guillermou. In 2005, ABC RadioNational commissioned a radio play about Vivaldi, which was written by Sean Riley.Entitled The Angel and the Red Priest, the play was later adapted for the stage andwas performed at the Adelaide Festival of the Arts.45The music of Vivaldi, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Corelli has been included in thetheories of Alfred Tomatis on the effects of music on human behaviour and used inmusic therapy.citation neededAuthor Janice Jordan Shefelman wrote a childrens book detailing the life of Vivaldientitled I, Vivaldi.46WorksMain articles: List of compositions by Antonio Vivaldi and List of operas by VivaldiA composition by Vivaldi is identified by RV number, which refers to its place in the"Ryom-Verzeichnis" or "Répertoire des oeuvres dAntonio Vivaldi", a catalog createdin the 20th century by the musicologist Peter Ryom.Le quattro stagioni (The Four Seasons) of 1723 is his most famous work. Part of Ilcimento dellarmonia e dellinventione ("The Contest between Harmony andInvention"), it depicts moods and scenes from each of the four seasons. This workhas been described as an outstanding instance of pre-19th century program music.47Vivaldi wrote more than 500 other concertos. About 350 of these are for soloinstrument and strings, of which 230 are for violin, the others being for bassoon,cello, oboe, flute, viola damore, recorder, lute, or mandolin. About forty concertos arefor two instruments and strings and about thirty are for three or more instruments andstrings.As well as about 46 operas, Vivaldi composed a large body of sacred choral music.Other works include sinfonias, about 90 sonatas and chamber music.Some sonatas for flute, published as Il Pastor Fido, have been erroneously attributedto Vivaldi, but were composed by Nicolas Chédeville.From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaVivaldis Gloria (a collection of choral pieces for SATB) is a very well known andwidely praised piece. The research of Richard Vendome has showed that Vivaldiwrote this piece while he was the director of music at a girls dance school, implyingthat he intended all the parts - including the tenor and bass lines - to be sung by girlsor women. Vendomes thesis is controversial, but he has proved it to be possible withhis own SPAV choir, which is dedicated to the works of Vivaldi and his students andin which females sing bass, tenor, soprano and alto, all at pitch.citation needed