Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (4 March 1678 – 28 July 1741) was an Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher and cleric. Born in Venice, he is recognised as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread across Europe. He is known mainly for composing many instrumental concertos, for the violin and a variety of other instruments, as well as sacred choral works and more than forty operas.
His best-known work is a series of violin concertos known as “The Four Seasons”. Many of his compositions were written for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi (who had been ordained as a Catholic priest) was employed from 1703 to 1715 and from 1723 to 1740.
Vivaldi also had some success with expensive stagings of his operas in Venice, Mantua and Vienna. After meeting the Emperor Charles VI, Vivaldi moved to Vienna, hoping for preferment. However, the Emperor died soon after Vivaldi’s arrival, and Vivaldi himself died less than a year later in poverty. After his death, Vivaldi’s music slid into obscurity until a vigorous revival in the 20th century. Today, he ranks among the most popular and widely recorded of Baroque composers, second perhaps only to Johann Sebastian Bach, who himself was deeply influenced by Vivaldi’s work.
For Music Saturday, one of my favourite Vivaldi concerti, the Concerto for Two Violins in A Minor (RV 522) from “L’ Estro Armonico”, Op.3.No.8, with Willi Boskowsky, Jan Tomasow (solo violins).
0:00 1st movement
3:59 2nd movement
8:02 3rd movement
Johann Sebastian Bach thought highly of this concerto, enough to arrange it for keyboard, which I am sure he had great delight in playing.
I love the classical music YouTube videos such as this, which include the score to follow along as one is listening!