Wednesday, March 25, 2009
A Venetian Great: Antonio Vivaldi
Vivaldi, the most creative composer of the eighteenth century was born in Venice, in 1678, to well-off parents, Giovanni and Camilla. As was customary of the times, the eldest son of upper-class families would be sent to the priesthood. So, as soon as he was ordained, in 1703, Vivaldi was hired by the Pio Ospedale della Pieta’ to not only give Mass, but to teach violin as well.
Having been taught by his father to play the violin when he was very young, Vivaldi enjoyed this instrument the most. ‘The red priest’, nicknamed for his bright flame-colored hair, soon discovered that he rather create musical masterpieces rather than say Mass. He even went as far as saying that his asthma was so severe at times that it impeded him from giving sermons. Speaking out loud weakened him. With this excuse, which is still disputed today, Vivaldi gave up being a man of the cloth but continued to be employed by the Pieta’ as a violin master. This is not to say that he wasn’t religious; in fact, Vivaldi was a devout Catholic who composed music while holding a rosary.
At the Pieta’, Vivaldi published many works that began primarily with vocal pieces for the orphans as well as his first book of Sonatas. When Vivaldi was offered to take some time off, he decided to travel to other parts of the Veneto region where he began to enjoy opera. He wasted no time in producing incredible works such as his first opera masterpiece “Ottone in Villa”- he created this piece in Vicenza, Italy (my parents’ home town!).
Vivaldi enjoyed his travels and was much inspired by all the new places he visited, where he was inspired to write wonderful renowned operas. He was also very famous for his concertos. He composed these instrumental works while creating operas; let’s just say he was an extremely busy man. He was involved in every aspect of the presentations, from conducting to performing and more.
This spiritually motivated mastermind, who inspired such greats as Bach and Albinoni, was a simple man whose love of music was his life long passion. Although he never married, he did apparently have a relationship with one of his best students, Anna Giraud. Vivaldi died in Vienna in 1741.
For wonderful Vivaldi music, please go to Ninon’s amazing site: Musica & Arte.
Posted by Lucy at 8:38 AM