Four Seasons - Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born in Venice, Italy in 1678; he was one of the most influential composers and violinists of his age. He spent most of his life in Venice; his father was a professional musician at St. Mark’s Church, he taught Antonio to play the violin, and they usually performed together. The tradition says that Vivaldi was a great musician, because his father forced him to practice a lot, Antonio had to leave the normal boy’s life to become an outstanding violinist.

Young Antonio Vivaldi served in church orchestras and eventually studied for the priesthood. He was ordained as a priest in 1703 at the age of 25, but he never served the church in a religious capacity; nevertheless, he served the church as a musician. Vivaldi began his musician career composing sonatas for keyboard instruments around 1705. Antonio Vivaldi usually played violin in opera orchestras, this experience make Vivaldi develop a love of opera so he composed several masterpieces of opera. His first opera was performed in 1713, and it was a success among opera lovers.

Vivaldi was a prolific Italian composer; he played one of the most crucial roles in setting the foundations for the late baroque concerto. His brilliant use of solo and ensemble forces influenced many important composers, such as Locatelli, Bach and Tartitni. Vivaldi has the financial backing of an Italian prince in the city of Mantua. He spent his hours composing operas in addition to vocal, keyboard and orchestral works. In 1741, Vivaldi moved to Vienna, Austria; he hoped to receive an offer as musician in the court. However, he didn’t receive any offer and died in Vienna.

After he died, his music was rarely performed until the 20th century, Vivaldi claimed to have written 94 operas but musical scholars have found scores for only 50. “The Four Seasons” is the first four of a series of twelve concertos for solo violin and string orchestra written around 1725, in this case the music represents the seasons of the year. Vivaldi wrote descriptive notes and sonnets for “The Four Seasons” which relate to the music in the margin of the musical score.

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