Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Antonio Vivaldi is an Italian composer and violinist. He was born March 4, 1678 in Venice, Italy. He is major figure in baroque music and exercised a considerable influence on the development of the concerto. Antonio Vivaldi was the first child of his family. He was born with chest illness and wasn't expected to live long. He survived, but remained very weak throughout his life.

Antonio Vivaldi.jpg
"Antonio Vivaldi" by François Morellon la Cave -
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Antonio grew up in Venice. His father Giovanni realized that his son was very musical and taught him to play the violin at a young age. Antonio Vivaldi was trained in the priesthood in 1693 and was ordained in 1703. His first known performance was in 1696. Within a year after Vivaldi's ordination, he stopped practicing Mass. He claimed this was because of his poor health, while others believed he quit because he was forced into becoming a priest at such a young age.

Six months after he was ordained in 1703, Vivaldi was appointed as the maestro de violin at theOspedale Della Pieta, an orphanage in Venice. Their purpose at the Pieta was to give shelter and to provide education and musical training. The Pieta was famous for its music. During Vivaldi's time many girls were described as the best in Italy. The girls would put on performances to raise money for the Pieta. Vivaldi soon became well-known in Venice as a promising young composer. He spent many years at the Pieta however; in 1709 he was asked to leave. Vivaldi returned to the Pieta as a violin teacher in September of 1711. He worked for the Pieta on and off for the next 40 years.

 Throughout the years he changed positions from a violin teacher, to a church composer and all the way to the director of music. Vivaldi's music was new and exciting. It was also unique in style. He liked to created vigorous rhythms. This gave his work a feeling of freshness and energy. Vivaldi was by now a great virtuoso violinist and admired among many. He began to compose different kinds of music that was becoming more popular in Venice. This music was opera.

When Vivaldi wasn't working at the Pieta, he was composing music for the theater. Vivaldi realized that he could make more money composing operas. He then decided to take a month's leave and start composing one. His first opera produced great success. From then on, Vivaldi became important in the Venetian opera world.

In 1718, Vivaldi was offered a job in the city of Mantua. For three years, Vivaldi worked as one of the Prince Philip's court musicians, composing many secular instrumental works. He left Mantua in 1720, but continued to write music for the prince. During his time in Mantua, he produced more operas. He fame had now spread beyond Venice, and was asked to compose operas for other popular cities such as Milan and Florence. Vivaldi also became popular in Rome for his violin playing and opera. He was invited to the Vatican to perform for the pope. At this time he was still working for the Pieta however; they were upset that there maestro was not there. They agreed that Vivaldi would have to write two works for them each month.

Throughout the next few centuries Vivaldi published many musical works. His goal was to entertain audiences rather than express himself in some deep personal way. However, as time went on, he grew more and more out of touch with Venice. The musical taste had changed and the people focused on other composers. Vivaldi became less popular. He did not write another opera for over four years. Audiences abroad still enjoyed Vivaldi's work, which is why he traveled so much. In 1740, Vivaldi had one final triumph at the Pieta with a grand gala concert. He then decided to leave Venice for good. He began raising money for his last journey.

Vivaldi shortly became a forgotten composer. New composers quickly took his place in the music world. Vivaldi was however, rediscovered later by J.S Bach, who composed numbers of his songs for the keyboard. Vivaldi died of internal inflammation and was buried on July 28, 1741. He suffered all his life with a chest illness. This did not stop him from composing a vast amount of music. He claimed to have written 94 operas. He also wrote secular cantatas and many church works for chorus, soloists, and orchestra. His instrumental, however, is the most admired, nearly 500 concertos. "He is known for fast movements with vigorous, tuneful themes and impassioned, lyrical slow movements."

No comments: