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antonio VIVALDI. Composer teacher virtuoso and Baroque extraordinaire. Created by Julia Voye Ferrin MUSC 1010. BIOGRAPHY. Born: Venice March 4, 1678 Died: Vienna July 28, 1741. Oldest of 9 children in poor family Taught violin by his father Trained as a priest - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
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antoni o VIVALD I Composer teacher virtuoso and Baroque extraordinaire Created by Julia Voye Ferrin MUSC 1010

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antonio VIVALDIComposerteacher virtuoso and Baroque extraordinaire

Created by Julia VoyeFerrin MUSC 1010Antonio Vivaldi was a European composer, most famous for his Four Seasons concertos. He is one of the most famous Baroque composers, and has had an enormous impact on music, even today.1BIOGRAPHY

Born: Venice March 4, 1678Died: Vienna July 28, 1741Oldest of 9 children in poor family Taught violin by his father

Trained as a priest Nicknamed Il Prete Rosso or The Red PriestChronic bronchial asthmaLeft the priesthood to write music

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born in Venice on March 4, 1678 into a poor family. For being one of the most famous Baroque composers, very little is known about his private life. He was the eldest of nine children born to Giovanni Battista and Camilla Calicchio. His father started as a baker, and then went on to become a professional violinist. He taught his son Antonio to play at a young age, and the pair would tour around Venice together.

As a teenager, the young Vivaldi began training to become a priest. This was against his personal wishes, but at the time priesthood was the only way for poor children to receive a free education. He was ordained as a priest in 1704, but within the year he had be relieved of celebrating mass for physical reasons. He called it tightening in the chest, probably asthmatic bronchitis or possibly a nervous disorder. There have been some rumors that he would fake illness at times to leave the pulpit and scribble down musical ideas. Although he left the priesthood, he would be referred to for the rest of his career as Il Prete Rosso or The Red Priest, probably because of his red hair.

3Ospedale della Pieta schoolEsteemed music school for daughters of noblemenFirst teacher, then resident composerMany concertos are technique exercisesEmployed by the school for 25 years

Almost immediately after he ended his career as a priest, his new career began as composer and musician. He had already begun working as a violin teacher at the Ospedale della Pieta school, with who he would remain tied to for over thirty-five years. Ospedale was one of four Ospedali schools for young women with an emphasis on music. Although often referred to as orphanages, these were elite schools for the female children of noblemen and their mistresses. Therefore they were well endowed by the anonymous fathers and had the best instruments, facilities, and teachers. It has been observed that many of Vivaldis works, especially the concertos, sound like technical musical exercises, and indeed many of his works written for the school are five finger practices intended to fine-tune the skills of his young students. The reputation and popularity of the schools and their performances became widely known, making them famous both home and abroad. In 1716 Vivaldi was promoted to maestro de concerti. Despite his extensive travel later in his life, he remained employed by the school, providing them with 140 concertos between 1723 and 1729.

41710Begins publishing musicLEstro ArmonicoHarmonic InspirationVery popular and influential1713 Opera debut Ottone in Villa1717 Begins travelsAppointed Chamber Kapellmeister for governor of Mantua

Also around this time he began publishing music. In 1705, his Opus 1 was published, followed in 1908 by Opus 2. These were trio sonatas and violin sonatas, displaying a preference of strings for which Vivaldi would become famous the world over. His Opus 3 entitled LEstro Armonico (Harmonic Inspiration) was a bestseller and enormously influential amongst his contemporaries. Published in 1711 by a publisher in Amsterdam, it was renowned for its vivid expression and freedom. It also gained him a reputation as a prolific violinist as well as composer. In 1713 Vivaldi made his opera debut with Ottone in Villa.

Vivaldi began his travels in 1717, visiting Austria and Bohemia before settling in Mantua in what was then part of the Austrian Empire. He acquired the post of Chamber Kapellmeister at the court of Mantua governor Philips Van Hessen-Darmstadt. He remained here until 1720, providing the court with operas, cantatas and concert music.


AnnaGIRAUDMet in Mantua as a soprano in his operaShe stayed with him for the rest of his lifeMaintained they were only friendsWould later cause a scandal

It was here that he met Anna Giraud, a singer he featured as a soprano in many of his operas. She moved in with him and remained his companion for the rest of his life. He always maintained that she was only a housekeeper and a good friend, but their relationship would create scandal with consequences later in his life. Annas sister Paolina also lived with them.6The Four Seasonsandthe popular years1925 premiere 8th Opus, including la Quattro Stagione or The Four SeasonsReceived wild acclaim and successContinue to travel and tour Europe until 1733Very popular even amongst nobility Spring movement personal favorite of King Louis XIV of France

His reputation and popularity continued to grow throughout Europe, even amongst royalty. He was particularly loved in France who at the time had a very independent taste in music. Vivaldis music caught the special attention of King Louis XV of France, who commissioned La Sena Festeggiante (Festival on the Seine) in 1720, and would often have his favorite pieces played at a moments notice. Next in Rome, Vivaldi found patronage in Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni who had a deep love for music. By Vivaldis own account, he was even invited to play a private concert for the pope!

1925 was a watershed year for Vivaldi. He premiered his eighth opus, Cimento dell Armenia d dell Invenzione in Amsterdam to wild acclaim and success. It focused on different elements of nature and each section was a vivid pictorial, and again Vivaldi featured his prized strings. This set of eight concerti included la Quattro Stagione, famously known by its English translation The Four Seasons. A movement was dedicated to each season, and was accompanied by a poem written by the composer. Opus 8 also featured La Tempesta di Mare (Storm At Sea) and La Caccia (The Hunt). It has remained his most pervasive and well-known legacy, and was immensely popular. The Spring movement was a personal favorite of King Louis XV.

Vivaldi came into heavy demand from royal courts from all over Europe. His next period of commissions and sponsorship came from Austrian Emperor Charles VI. A great music enthusiast, amateur composer and keyboard player, Charles VI was a loyal fan of Vivaldis music. In return, in 1927 the composer dedicated his Opus 9, La Cetra (The Lyre) to the Emperor. This would be his last set of published concerti.

Vivaldi continued to travel, and toured Europe on the wave of his popularity from 1729 to 1733. In 1730, he traveled with his father and Anna Giraud to Prague. His opera Farnace opened with such success that the theatre premiered two more of his operas. After that, Farnace became his showpiece and a favorite among audiences. Given the triumph of his premieres in Prague, he mostly focused on operas for the rest of his life.

7Turn of fortune and deathMid 1730s decline in popularity and loss of financesScandal about relationship with Anna Giraud causes further damageIn desperation, try to get work in ViennaDied shortly after on July 28, 1741 probably from asthmatic bronchitisModest burial

The mid 1730s brought a turn in Vivaldis fortune. In 1936 his long time patron Philips Van Hessen-Darmstadt died, leaving him financially unstable. His works were no longer bringing the audiences that they once did, and his popularity declined. Within few short years, it seemed the European audiences were turning on him. To make matters worse, his relationship with Anna Giraud led to a series of scandals. Because he had once been ordained in the priesthood, the church authorities started accusing him of being a fallen priest. In 1737 his operas were banned. For similar reasons Ospedale della Pieta did not renew his contract the following year.

In despair, Vivaldi moved back to his hometown of Venice in 1940. Unfortunately the city was enduring an economic downturn. He resorted to selling his precious manuscripts for a fraction of what they were worth. Charles VI had been in contact with him, and he had reason to believe that the Emperor would offer him a position as composer for his court. In desperation, he scraped together the money to move to Vienna by selling even more of his manuscripts. In an unlucky twist of fate, Charles VI died shortly after Vivaldi arrived in Vienna, possibly from eating poisonous mushrooms.

Only a few months later, penniless and in failing health, Antonio Vivaldi died in Vienna July 28, 1741. He died of internal fire, most likely the asthmatic bronchitis that had plagued him since he was a boy and that had at least in part driven him from the priesthood. Similar to Mozart, he had a modest burial. Anna Giraud returned to Venice, where she died in 1750.

8The Four Seasons Composition History

9About the MusicPremiered in 1725 in AmsterdamPictorialOne concerto for each season, accompanied by a poemEach concerto has three movements fast, slow, fast

It originally officially premiered in 1725 in Amsterdam, although at the time he asked his patrons to accept the music as if it were new, implying he had composed and performed the concertos years earlier. The official publisher was Estienne Roger of Amsterdam. Le Quattro Stagioni is part of the composition entitled Il Cimento dellarmonia e dellinventione meaning The Test of Harmony and Intervention. To some, this title implies the pull between formality and fantasy. The composition is pictorial, vividly depicting the action of the titles. It also includes The Storm at Sea and The Hunt.

The Four Seasons is divided into four concertos, one for each season. Each concerto is divided into three movements, and follows the same format of one fast movement, then a slow movement, then back to a fast movement. To enhance the pictorial nature of these concertos, each season was accompanied by a poem written by Vivaldi himself.


SummerA goat herder running from a violent stormWinterPeople trying to survive the harsh winds and cold temperatures

The summer poem is about a goat herder and his flock. They bask in the heat and hear different birds sing. The winds pick up and the herder wonders if a storm is coming. He is tired from working, so tries to rest but is too afraid of the impending storm. Insects swarm around him has he becomes more frightened. Finally his worst fears come true as a violent storm appears. Rain and hail fall from the sky, ruining the grain crop.

The poem accompanying the Winter concerto is again about people trying to survive in nature. There are the harsh winds of winter, and cold temperatures. There are feet stomping and teeth chattering. Luckily, people can go indoors and relax by the fire while the storms go on outside. But once outside again, people must be very careful walking on the ice, and sometimes fall. The winds fight each other, but through this coldness winter also brings joy.


Music for everyoneVery popular because accessible to ordinary people, not just musical intellectualsWritten music simple, encourages professionals to embellishContains technical exercises for his pupilsVivaldi himself violin virtuoso

One reason Vivaldis music was so popular was its accessibility to a wide audience. Vivaldi consciously wrote his music non-academically so it could be understood by most anyone, not just an intellectual minority. This may be because much of The Four Seasons was written for his girls music school, Ospedale della Pieta, so there are many elements that are meant to develop their musical talents. His desire to make The Four Seasons available to anyone can be seen in his original manuscript of the concertos. They are oversimplified to encourage ordinary people to play, but contain suggestion that the actual professional performances be more daring and embellished.

Vivaldis simplified manuscripts mustnt be misleading however. Vivaldi was a violin virtuoso. He was daring, with contemporary accounts claiming sometimes he would play with his fingers so close to the bridge of the violin, there was barely room for the bow! There are impressive cadences in The Four Seasons that are a showcase for his masterful talent as a violinist, especially in the first and third movements of Winter, among others.

12The violin in the spotlightIntroduced the violin as a solo instrumentBefore considered only part of ensembleSolo violin has been classical favorite ever since

One contribution of Vivaldi that is highlighted in The Four Seasons is the violin as a solo instrument. At the time violins were considered to be only part of an ensemble, and spotlighting the instrument alone was unheard of. Vivaldi brought the violin to the center. Clearly, this revolutionized the way the violin was perceived from then on, with the solo violin being a classical favorite.

13Forgotten after death1926 - Manuscripts rediscovered in Italian school archivesDr. Alberto Gentili put in chargeWealthy Italian donated papers to libraryWorld War II delays projectFinally performed in London in 1951

Vivaldi rediscoveredIn 1926, a boarding school in Piedmont, Italy discovered large volumes of antique papers, including music manuscripts. Interested in selling the contents for school funds, they contacted Dr. Alberto Gentili, a music history professor at Turin University, also in Italy. Upon opening the first box of papers, he found to his astonishment a huge amount of original Vivaldi autographs. He quickly went about securing these invaluable volumes for the Turin Library. Working in secret to avoid any antique dealers getting their hands on this treasure, he convinced a wealthy Turinese to purchase the manuscripts and donate them to the library. In total there were 97 volumes of music, manuscripts, and autographs, most of which hadnt been heard in centuries.

But the saga didnt end there. Dr Gentili realized that many of the manuscripts were missing sections, implying that the rest of the collection existed elsewhere. Since this most likely happened with the dividing of an inheritance, Dr Gentili went about tirelessly narrowing down possible owners of the lost papers. When the person was finally contacted, it took a lot of negotiating to convince them to sell their share of the papers. For the funds to purchase the second collection, Dr Gentili once again begged around the city of Turin. Again he found a rich Turinese willing to purchase the papers and donate them in the name of his son. With both purchases together, the Vivaldiana collection totaled 319 items.

After the compiling of the Turin Collections, there was a Vivaldi renaissance. It began with a week of the newly rediscovered music in Siena in 1939, anticipating the publication of Complete Works by Vivaldi. Unfortunately World War II interrupted these plans. But finally, after the liberation of Italy, an admirer of Vivaldis music, a man named Antonio Fanna, took up the project once more. He established Istituto Italiano Antonio Vivaldi to publish and promote Vivaldis works. Fanna hired publishing house Casa Ricordi for the job. It took a lot of determination and creativity to publish the Complete Works, because most of the presses had been bombed and destroyed during the war. Yet Fanna and Casa Ricordi knew this was too important to postpone. Finally in the early 1950s, the lost Vivaldi works began to appear in publication in Italy and around Europe. After a season in London dedicated almost exclusively to Vivaldis rediscovered works in 1951, Vivaldi was at last established as one of the Baroque periods most genius composers.


The Four SeasonsListening Guide for Summer and Winter15SUMMERThird movement

0:11 Series of quick descending scales falling sheets of rain0:46 Incredible violin solo other stings are silent to bring all focus to the talented soloist2:15 Final fortissimo arch from the strings, ending in unison like a declaration of authority0:11 - The violins begin a series of quick descending scales, like falling sheets of rain. The last note of each of the scales lands on the downbeat, and immediately another run begins, almost creating the sound of a round. The rest of the strings continue with a tremolo on the base note of each scale. A sense of dread and fear is created with the minor chord, loud dynamics, and frantic 16th notes. The series of descending scales then switches to ascending scales, the two separated by a measure with all three sub-beats emphasized on the same note.0:46 An astonishing violin solo begins, with an adjunct melody requiring masterful skills. The rest of the strings are silent, so the listener is riveted to the spectacular notes of the violin zipping up and down the scale at lightening speed. Like the beginning of the movement, there is a long pause after the first phrase of the melody, which is then repeated this time at a lower pitch. This is like the panicked goat herder from the accompanying sonnet jumping to his feet and scrambling to collect his things in order to narrowly miss the storm. The solo ends with a descending scale in uneven notes, like the herder sprinting down the hill towards safety.2:15 The strings play a run, like a challenge from nature to the boy. The solo violin plays a frightened pair of ascensions, and then seems to give in to the power of the strings, representing nature. The 16th notes of the strings play in fortissimo to show their dark power, ending with a final arch. The arch ends with every instrument in unison in a whole note, held longer, in a final punctuation of authority.

16WINTERFirst movement

0:00 Dissonant sounds in minor chord with staccatos hostility of winter cold0:46 Solo violin and strings take turns. Solo ends in dissonant trill to fade into strings1:32 Quick scales by solo violin, perhaps exercise for pupils shivering, chattering teeth3:08 Motif returns of slow, quick quick, slow. Great timbre. Although in minor, sounds cheerful0:00 The introduction begins as a soft steady rhythm of strings in low quarter notes in homorhythm. It begins with dissonant sounds in a minor chord, immediately establishing uneasiness that is furthered by the staccato notes. This already introduces the listener to the hostility and lifelessness of a bitter winter cold0:46 Suddenly the solo violins bursts out alone, loud and clear in a series of descending runs. The tempo has changed, allowing the musician some freedom to create the pace. This freedom makes the solo somewhat arrhythmic, yet in control. The solo ends with the rest of the strings coming in again with the staccato dissonant chords from the beginning, with also the harpsichord keeping the beat. The two elements of the low strings and the sharp solo violin take turns for much of the movement, creating a repeated pattern of contrast.The solo violin leaps in once more. There is another set of descending runs, a variation of the first solo. The solo ends in a dissonant trill, so it seems to fade into the steady beat of the strings. The final violin solo in this set is much higher in pitch, again doing a variation of the descending runs of the first solo. 1:32 The solo violin breaks off alone into incredible 16th note scales at dazzling speed. The cello accompanies to keep the rhythm of the quarter notes. There are several series of both ascending and descending scales at lightening speed, ending in several small arches. The scales are a great example of the finger exercises Vivaldi includes in The Four Seasons to develop his young pupils. The quick pace of this solo is like the shivering and chattering of teeth in the cold of winter.3:08 The motif returns. The timbre sings out with all of the strings playing together in homorhythm. Although the movement is in a minor key and there is a lot of tension and darkness, the motif is bright in one, and cheerful. It is like running to get out of the cold, but laughing while doing it.

17WINTERSecond Movement0:00 Mood immediately different than 1st movement fluid, simple, pleasant0:32 Trill throughout the movement, to decorate the simple melody0:54 Trill starts slow and speeds up, dissonance resolved on lower note1:40 Phrase is stated, then repeated with embellishments like trills2:01 Ends with long lazy trill

0:00 Immediately the mood of this movement is completely different than the first. The tempo is slow and relaxed, with longer notes and a uncomplicated texture. The violin sings out a beautiful monophony, with delicate pizzicato from the rest of the strings in steady 8th notes.

0:32Again a trill finishes the violin cadence. The trills used in this movement are a good way to decorate the simple melody. To add to the structure coming from the plucked notes, the violins join in with held whole notes. The whole notes from the violins are the silent and familiar presence of those family and friends, happily listening to the singer. 0:54 At the bottom of a descending scale, the solo violin finishes with a trill. The trill itself starts very slow, similar to 16th notes. But it slowly speeds up into a trill, sounding like a vibrato in singing. The trill is dissonant and ends on a lower note to provide the resolution.1:40 A pair of phrases from the solo violin follows. The first phrase is stated. The second phrase repeats the first phrase, with added details like 16th notes and a trill at the end.2:01 The tension from the preceding dissonant cadences is finally resolved with a beautiful final trill. The trill is very long, lasting a full ten seconds. It decrescendos to piano, then ending in almost a whisper. Similar to an earlier trill, it begins slowly, almost lazily. But after it speeds to a proper trill, combined with the pianissimo dynamic it just sounds like one long note. A great detail is towards the end of the trill run, the notes slow down a bit once more. The musician seems to be relaxing, having the freedom to choose the pace of the trill. The elongated final trill gives the listener a last chance to enjoy the lovely pictorial from around the fire, before the music steps back outside into the cold weather.

18WINTERThird movement

0:21 Inverted arches from violins, like swirling wind and snow1:36 Solo violin plays broken chords from highest to lowest, with chords ascending up the scale2:30 Solo and strings battle, one dominating each measure in forte, mimicking each other3:03 Last measures slow to highlight dissonance, then homophonic resolution of last chord

0:21 The rest of the violins join in with a serried of inverted arches, like swirling snow and winds that sound almost disorienting. 1:36 The violin with no accompaniment plays broken chords from highest note to lowest, with each chord ascending up the scale. They are quick and jolting, played in 16th notes on the third beat of each measure so the bottom note hits on the down beat, with a dramatic pause on the second beat before climbing to the next chord. The difference of mood between the solo violin and the rest of the strings is emphasized by a theatrical pause at the end of the solo to anticipate the other strings.2:30 Suddenly the solo violin bursts into quick scales in forte dynamic, entering into a battle with the strings, like the two winds from earlier in a battle. They pull back and forth, one dominating each measure. They mimic each others quick descending scales, growing louder. 3:03 Like in the movements before it, the last movement of the last concerto of The Four Seasons slows to highlight the dissonance before the homophonic resolution of the last chord.

19BIBLIOGRAPHYAntonio Vivaldi. Baroque Music. Arton. Oct 2011

Antonio Vivaldi and the Four Seasons. Baroque Music. Arton. Oct 2011 Antonio Vivaldi and the Four Seasons. ClassicalNotes.Net. Peter Gutman. Oct 2011

Antonio Vivaldi Baroque Composer. Essortment. Demand Media. Oct 2011

Antonio Vivaldi Biography. Last FM. Interactive CBS Music Group. Oct 2011

Antonio Vivaldi The Red Priest. Tel Asiado Suite 101. Music Suite 101. Oct 2011

Bibliography cont.Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741). Classical Archives. All Music Guide. Oct 2011

Vivaldi. Classical.net. Classical.net. Oct 2011

Vivaldis Four Seasons. Angel Queen. Angel Queen. Oct 2011.

Vivaldis Four Seasons: Notes, Historical Information, Sonnets. Classical Music About.com. About.com. Oct 2011

Vivaldi His Music Rediscovered. Baroque Music. Arton. Oct 2011