Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice on March 4th,

1678. Through ordained a priest in 1703, according to his

own account, within a year of being ordained Vivaldi no

longer wished to celebrate mass because physical

complaints “tightness of the chest” which pointed to

asthmatic bronchitis, or a nervous disorder. It is also

possible that Vivaldi was faking his illness. There is a

story that he sometimes left the alter to jot down a musical

idea. He had became a priest against his own will, because

priesthood was often the only way possible for a poor

family to obtain free schooling.

Vavaldi wrote many memorable concertos, such as

the Four seasons and the opus 3, he also wrote many

works for students. People and students still play these

pieces all over the world. Vavaldi was employed for most

of his working life by by the Ospedale della Pieta. Often

termed orphanage, this Ospedale was in fact a home for the

female offspring of noblemen and their numerous dalliance

with their mistresses. Many of Vavaldi’s concerti were

indeed exercises which he would play whith his many

talented pupils.

Vavaldi’s relationship wth the Ospedale began right

after his ordination in 1703, when he was named as the

violin teacher there. Until 1709, Vavaldi’s appointment

was renewed every year and again and after 1711. They

think between 1709 and 1711 Vivaldi was not attached to

the Ospedale. They think he might started working for the

Teatro Sant’ Anngelo an opera theater. He was still was a

composer though, in 1711 twelve of his concertos were

written and and published in Amsterdam.

In 1713 Vavaldi was given a months leave from the

Ospedale to stage his first opera, it was called Ottone in

ville. He did this opera in Vicenza. He produced another

opera in the period between 1713 and 1714.

Thse highest part of Vavaldi’s life was the end of

1716. In November he managed to have the Ospedale

perform his great oratorio, it was called the Juditha

Triumphans devicta Holofernis barbaric. This piece was

about the victory of the Christians over the Turks in August

of 1716.

Vavaldi Moved to Mantua in the late 1717 for two

years in order to take up his post as Chamber Kapellmeister

at the court of Landgrave Philips van Hessen Darmstadt.

His task there was to provide operas, cantatas, and perhaps

concert music, too.

Vavaldi in 1720 returned to Venice where he again

staged new operas that he wrote himself. In Mantua he had

met a singer by the name of Anna Giraud, she moved in

with him Vavaldi said that she was just a housekeeper and

agreat friend, just like her sister, Paolina, who also moved


Anna Giraud was young, born in Venice. She was

daughter to French wigmaker. She was’nt beautiful,

though she was elegant, a small women with beatiful eyes

and a fascinating mouth. She had a very small voice, but

she could speak many languages. Vivaldi taught her how

to sing and stayed with her until he died.

Vavaldi wrote works for commission from foreign

rulers, such as the frech king, Louis XV. He serenaded La

Sena festeggiante at the festival of the Seine. The bad

thing is that they can not date this music, but they know it

was written after 1720.

In rome Vavaldi found a patron in the person of

Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, a great music lover, who earlier

had been the patron of Arcangelo Corelli. Vavldi himself

was asked by the pope to play the violin for him at a private

audience. He totally loved it, it also was a great time in his


Despite his stay in Rome and other cities, Vivaldi

remained in the service of the Ospedale della Pieta, he was

nominated the Maestro di Concerti. He had to send two

concertos per month to veniceand he received a ducat per

concerto. His presence was never required. He also

remained dictator of the Teatro Sant Angelo, as he did in

the 1726, 7 and 8 seasons.

Between 1725 and 1728 eight opera were made by

Vavaldi. In three months Vavaldi composed three operas,

two for Venice and one for florence. During these years

Vavaldi also extremely active in the field of Concertos. In

1725 the publication of Il Cimento dell’Armenia e

dell’invenzione and opus 8, appeared in Amsterdam. this

consisted of twelve concertos, seven of which were

descriptive: The Four Seasons, Storm at Sea, Pleasure and

The Hunt. Vivaldi transformed the tradition of descriptive

music into a typically Italian musical style with its

unmistakable timbre in which the strings play a big role.

These concetos were enormously successful,

particulary in france. In the second half of the 18th century

there were changes in the Spring concerto. King