Showing posts with label Vivaldi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vivaldi. Show all posts

Monday, January 15, 2018

VIVALDI's "The Four Seasons"

Deutsch: Antonio Lucio Vivaldi
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Another day, another vindication. I had been asked to do this post because it's true that these pieces are everywhere. The first of these is featured in almost every lazy film where people are meant to look snooty while sipping tea out in their formal gardens while being served by extravagantly mustachioed butlers. The second has been hardly spared, either, though I will say that it was the first one that was most recently featured in a commercial touting colon health. What "Spring" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons has to do with the lower intestine is beyond me, but I suppose any publicity is good 250 years post-mortem.

Antonio Vivaldi was born during an earthquake in Venice in the year 1678. Well, perhaps not during the earthquake itself, but there was certainly one in the city that day. He was the contemporary of both Handel and Bach, and I suppose one could say he represents Italy in terms of great Baroque composers. His father was a violinist and perhaps a composer, and though not much is known for certain about Antonio's childhood, one can safely assume that he was taught much of what he knew by his father. Antonio was a student of the violin as well as composition - childhood respiratory illnesses kept him away from woodwinds, as well as other childhood activities, I'm sure. He began studying for the priesthood at 15 and was ordained at 25. His nickname, "The Red Priest," is the fusing of his original vocation as well as a nod to his red hair. That's right. Antonio Vivaldi was a ginger.

At 25, he also began a long working relationship with the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice, an orphanage that was oddly forward-thinking. There were five of these orphanages in Venice at the time, and while the boys were eventually trained for a trade, the girls were educated in music - and this was a HUGE deal, as women were generally not allowed to see music as anything more than a hobby. The Pietà featured a choir and orchestra entirely comprised of women and girls, and they were, by all accounts, incredible. Vivaldi began there as a violin teacher and spent many years working up the ranks at the orphanage until, in 1716, he was named the music director of the entire organization.

In 1705, when Vivaldi was 27, his first collection of compositions was published. These were mostly sonatas and other smaller forms of music, though he was about to embark on a long and decidedly fruitful career as an opera composer. Italy (both at the time, and, arguably, for about two hundred years afterward) was the center of opera - still a somewhat new art form at the time - and in 1713, Vivaldi jumped on the bandwagon with Ottone in villa. In his lifetime, he composed at least 50 and as many as 95 operas, and the fact that attention hasn't been paid to them is really quite surprising. Between the late 1710s and 1725, he moved around Italy, living in Mantua, Rome, and Milan, but by 1725 - the year The Four Seasons was premiered - he was back in Venice. He was wildly successful for a time, but by his middle age, he was considered out of style and moved to Vienna to try and make a fresh start. It didn't work out, unfortunately, and he died there at the age of 63, all but penniless. To rub salt in that indignity, Vivaldi was never given the 19th-century renaissance that Handel and Bach both (posthumously, of course) enjoyed. It wasn't until the 1920s that interest in Vivaldi was rekindled - and even now, he is really only known for one work, though his catalog is gigantic. But yes - enough lamenting his lack of acknowledgment. On to The Four Seasons.

The Four Seasons is a set of four violin concertos composed in 1723 and published in 1725 as the first third of a set of twelve. The concert itself is an interesting genre of music. Older than the symphony, it first appeared in the 17th century. The word "concerto" is thought to come from Italian words meaning "together" and "competition," which makes sense - in the concerto (and its slightly earlier counterpart, the concerto grosso, which simply translates to "big concerto"), musical material is passed between a large ensemble and a small ensemble (in the grosso) or a soloist. It is usually in three movements (opposed to the generally four-movement symphony), and by Vivaldi's time and afterward, it was used to highlight a solo instrument. Vivaldi was one of the early masters of the concerto, and it was his work that dictated the form of the style for many years after his time.

Beyond being a set of four elegant concertos, The Four Seasons may be one of the earliest examples of program music. Composers have tried for hundreds of years to evoke specific emotions or even concrete images with music. In vocal pieces, this is called word painting - an example being a rising melody line on words that imply height, such as 'mountain' or 'sky.' Program music takes this idea further by giving an entire narrative to instrumental music. The Four Seasons was written to accompany four sonnets that may have been written by Vivaldi himself, and if they were, then they are some of the earliest examples of programs being prescribed to instrumental pieces. Vivaldi liked the music he composed for the set so much that he transplanted the opening of the "Spring" concerto to the beginning of his pastoral opera Dorilla in Tempe. And today, well... it's been transplanted to people trying to make colon health fancy. Not exactly the highest of praise, I suppose, but at least it's something.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Great Composers: ANTONIO Vivaldi (1678 - 1741)

Antonio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

VIVALDI - Son of Venice

Antonio Vivaldi by François Morellon la Cave; 1725
Antonio Vivaldi by François Morellon la Cave; 1725
 (Photo credit: 
Venice, Italy, is a popular and fascinating travel destination visited by thousands every year. In addition to the canals and other famous attractions, a visit to Venice can be a great experience for classical music lovers, especially fans of Antonio Vivaldi.

Antonio Vivaldi was trained as a priest, but learned violin at an early age from his father and is best known today for his innovative, flamboyant compositions. His most famous work, the Four Seasons, is one of the earliest tone poems, or a musical piece that captures specific moods and elements of a scene being depicted. His work heavily influences Bach, though many of his works disappeared into obscurity after his death. The Four Seasons, in fact, remained unknown through Vivaldi's lifetime. He also composed several operas, which were popular at the time and much in demand from royal sponsors.

Born in Venice in 1678, Vivaldi spent many years in the city as the master of violin at the Ospedale della Pieta, an orphanage. Today, a small Vivaldi-centric museum exists at this site, featuring items relevant both to Vivaldi and to the orphanage itself. Some items displayed in the museum include instruments that were played by the orphanage's inhabitants during Vivaldi's time. These instruments might even have been played by Vivaldi himself. The church where his formal baptism took place, the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista, also still stands in Venice, an additional must-see destination for Vivaldi fans.

The Museo della Musica, or Museum of Music, also features information and displays about the life and works of Vivaldi. This small museum is also housed in a church, and entry is free of charge. The museum features a collection of baroque period instruments and a display that discusses how violins are made. The church itself provides a beautiful display of neoclassical architecture, as well.

With careful planning, it is even possible to attend concerts to hear Vivaldi's works performed live in the city of his birth. Be sure to ask for information at the Venice hotels of choice to find current available performances or concerts. Since these performances vary from season to season, a schedule specific to the time of year will be important.

Staying at hotels in Venice can help contribute to a detailed, informative and enjoyable exploration of the city as well as Vivaldi's history and early years. Many Venice hotels are located within easy reach of these Vivaldi landmarks. Staff at hotels in Venice will likely be able to help provide guidance on where the best Vivaldi-themed locations in Venice can be found.

    By Roo Sadegi

    Roo Sadegi is a travel writer based in London's East End, although he spends much of his time traveling around Europe's travel hotspots.

    Article Source: EzineArticles

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

ANTONIO VIVALDI Composition History

Deutsch: Antonio Lucio Vivaldi
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Vivaldi was a pioneer of the concerto. He is one of the most popular and greatest composers. Early in the 1700's Vivaldi began to write his concertos that were widely spread in manuscript. Vivaldi is known for changing the nature of the concerto. Earlier concertos were relatively different; Vivaldi was able to mark change concertos from what they once were, to what they are now.

He explored new ways of composing solo instrumental passages to be placed in between sections of orchestral music. This created contrasts in the sound and gave the soloist a chance to impress the audience. His most famous concertos aren't especially distinctive. His concertos interested many not just because of the song itself but because of the way the songs were played, how the instruments worked together and how they all became such an amazing and unique work of art. Many of Vivaldi's concertos feature one or more violins.

Many of Vivaldi's works have also included the flute, oboe bassoon and cello. Some include the guitar and mandolin, horns and trumpets and several works included unusual combinations of solo or single instruments. Today, Vivaldi is particularly founded on his 500 concertos.

Vivaldi was the first composer to regularly use the ritornello form in fast movements. He is also known to standardize the movement scheme; fast, slow, fast of the classical concerto. Vivaldi probably had no idea that he was making musical history. He wrote music very quickly and efficiently. He has many concertos that are known today however, there are many more to be discovered.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Delights of BAROQUE MUSIC

Baroque music is instantly recognisable. It is the beautiful expressive music that accompanies many historic films. The uplifting instrumental music that is often used in advertising, and in public campaigns. Why is it so often used? Because it has an unique ability to lift the human spirit, and to set a mood of sublime enjoyment.

Baroque is the style of classical music composed between approximately 1600 - 1750. It is often divided into the Early Baroque, which lasted until the mid 17th century, and saw the initial development of the style. The Middle Baroque, until the late 17th century, and finally the Late Baroque, which ends with the deaths of both J.S.Bach and G.F. Handel in 1759.

J.S. Bach
The name 'baroque', comes from the Portuguese word 'barocco', meaning a strangely shaped pearl. It was a considerable departure from the established music of the time, and must have seemed quite unusual to a contemporary audience.From the outset it was music of the spirit, and of the emotions. Intended to express some of the most profound states of human experience.

Baroque music has a number of particular characteristics which underpin its performance. A strong projection of emotion, and a sense of underlying spirituality. It is a style which makes deliberate use of strong contrast to heighten dramatic effect, for example contrasting different sections of a piece against each other. With slow and fast sections, perhaps.a simple theme set against a complex elaboration and development. All to achieve the maximum dramatic effect. Indeed the whole idea of linking melody and bass dates from this period, with a strong bass part providing a solid foundation and structure on which to build and elaborate the different themes and contrasting elements.

G. F. Handel
For the novice to classical music, there are many notable composers of the Baroque period that are well worth taking the time to listen to. One of the joys of this music lies in personally discovering the many treasures to be experienced, as you explore this music of four hundred years ago.Yet which is still so accessible to us today.

It is generally accepted however, that three composers in particular symbolise the main achievements of the baroque. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), George Frideric Handel (1685- 1759) and Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741). While many others such as Corelli, Purcell and Scarlatti were also important in the development of this new music.

With such a treasure trove of baroque pieces to choose from, it is difficult to know where to begin. But the enthusiastic listener wishing to gain a greater understanding of the style could well consider the following pieces in their initial exploration. From the works of J.S. Bach, a good choice would be the famous Brandenburg Concertos. Bach wrote this set of six concertos in 1721, and dedicated them to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg. They form perhaps the first musical jobapplication,as Bach was hoping for employment with the Margrave. Sadly for Bach, the job offer never materialised, but the Brandenburg Concertos remain an acknowleged masterpiece of the baroque.

A. Vivaldi
A perennial favourite for lovers of this genre, has always been G.F.Handel's Water Music Suite. Composed in 1717 for an elaborate river party on the Thames, attended by King George 1. Some fifty musicians were on board the concert barge, which followed the King's own barge in stately progress down the river.The powerful and beautiful music was so popular with his majesty, that he is said to have requested the musicians to perform it for two further encores. While Handel's oratorio The Messiah, composed in 1741, is perhaps one of the most famous choral pieces of all time.

The Italian influence was strong throughout the baroque period, and in the works of Antonio Vivaldi we have one of its finest exponents. Vivaldi is famous for the sheer number of pieces he produced in his lifetime. Yet an enduring favourite, and one which can be recommended to anyone new to baroque music, is the set of four violin concertos called The Four Seasons. This remarkable piece composed in 1723, is an evocative musical picture of each of the seasons of the year, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.Each section attempts to show the character of the particular season, from the energy of spring, through the mellowness of autumn, to the icy sharpness of winter.

Baroque music was the music of the Enlightenment,of new developments in science, philosophy and literature. Of hope and optimism, a belief in humanity and its great potential for progress. A celebration of profound feeling and inspired vision that still has the power to entrance us in its magic today.

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."