Antonio Vivaldi By: Ben Daniell
Early, Early Childhood • Was born in Venice Italy on March 4, 1678 (And the World Rejoiced) • His father was Giovanni Battista and his mother was unknown • He had 4 bro’s and 4 sis’s but he and his father were the only musicians
Father and Son • His father was a barber who took up the violin, and was apparently good enough to dazzle the basilica (sanctuary) of St. Mark (San Marco) since he got a job there performing in 1685, and later performed in operas • Taught Antonio to play the violin and they performed together on many occasions • The Vivaldi's playing together became one of the biggest tourist attractions in Venice, Italy.
Vivaldi’s Style of Playing • Vivaldi became a master violinist and had a very unique style of playing • Friedrich Armand von Uffenbach sums up his style of playing as following: "Vivaldi played a solo accompaniment-- splendid– in which he brought his fingers up to only a straw's distance from the bridge, leaving no room for the bow-- and that on all four strings with imitations and incredible speed." • “He put his fingers but a hair's breath from the bridge, so that there was scarcely room for the bow, and he did this on all four strings “
Vivaldi the Priest • Vivaldi was ordained as a priest in 1703 • This did not last very long because he no longer wished to celebrate mass anymore because of “tightness in the chest” other wise known as asthma.
Vivaldi and Ospedale • At the age of 25 Vivaldi accepted a job as a music teacher at an all girls orphanage called the Ospedale delle Pieta (the Hospital of Pity or Compassion.) • Not all of the girls were orphans ,however, many of them were poor or illegitimate, and some were just unruly types for which the Ospedale was their "reform school“. • Vivaldi produced many talented young girls who made names for themselves after they left the school. • The girls popularity gave Vivaldi a great deal of popularity, in fact many rich and wealthy families began to send there daughters to Ospedale
Vivaldi’s Style of Composing • He was the first composer to use ritornello • A ritornello is the use of a solo group in the concerto grosso • The ritornello was usually used in the fast movements
Vivaldi’s Style of Composing • He was also one of the first composers to use the three movement plan (slow, fast, slow) • His methods of securing greater thematic unity were widely copied as well as his vigorous rhythmic patterns
Vivaldi’s Works • He wrote over 550 concertos, as well as 40 cantatas, 22 operas, and more than 60 sacred works, and there were many more that have not survived (or been discovered.) • Vivaldi’s most famous piece was, “The Four Seasons” • The Four Seasons was made up of Four different concerto’s: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter • The Four Seasons is was programmatic or in other words was intended to tell a story.
Death • Vivaldi died in 1741 and by that time he had already lost his fame and fortune • Just like Mozart he was buried in an anonymous pauper's grave • The young composer Joseph Haydn was a choir boy at the funeral • Along with Vivaldi’s name being forgotten his music was also forgotten for almost 200 years
Vivaldi’s Revival • The search for Vivaldi's original concertos, however, was the road to one of music history's greatest comebacks • The first major discovery was in a music cabinet in Dresden. Vivaldi had composed a large quantity of music specifically for the Dresden orchestra, and once it had fallen out of fashion (in the 1760's) it had been placed in storage where it collected dust
Vivaldi’s Revival • In 1926 a monastery in Piedmont was looking to sell part of its archives for some needed cash so they called on an Italian musicologist, Alberto Gentili, to go through the enormous stash and sort it out • He was able to find 14 volumes of Vivaldi's music, mostly unknown, including over a hundred concertos, twelve operas, 29 cantatas, and a complete oratorio • This music had sat idle for nearly 200 years, and is perhaps one of the greatest discoveries in musical history
Contributions • Greatly advanced violin technique. • Fathered the present form of the solo concerto. • Established the three-movement concerto form. • Developed the cadenza greatly (may have fathered the written cadenza). • Helped develop solo sonata. • Introduced new bowings and techniques for stringed instruments. • Pushed programmatic music a step further ("The four seasons"). • Opened the door for modern instruments by writing many advanced and previously virtuosically unmatched concertos and sonatas for instruments new at the time but now standard. • Spread a more advanced style for the concerto (grosso) across Europe. • Created a new dimension of originality in spirit of the composer that would be a standard of freedom that composers allowed themselves only match in a later era.