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Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi

Country of origin: Italy
Birthday: March 4, 1678
Date of death: July 28, 1741

About Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi, Italian composer and violinist, learnt to play the violin from his father, was ordained as a priest in 1703 and became a 'maestro di violino' at the girls' conservatoire 'Ospedale della Pietà' in Venice for which he wrote most of his works and the concerts of which under his direction became very famous.
From 1716 he was a 'maestro de concerti' there, but in1718 he started to go on numerous trips to Italian cities as well as to Vienna, Prague and Amsterdam, mainly in order to perform his operas. From 1723 to 1725, he lived in Rome for the most part. An intrigue led to Vivaldi's financial ruin as an operatic impresario in 1737 and forced him to leave Italy. He died destitute in Vienna.
Vivaldi was one of the greatest violinists of his time. His significance as an instrumental composer is primarily based on his almost 500 concertos varied in form, instrumentation and character which decisively influenced the development of the genre in the late Baroque era. Among them are about 350 concertos for solo instrument and orchestra (about 230 of them for violin, the others for almost all instruments common at that time), more than 40 double concertos, over 30 for three to four soloists, about 30 group concertos without tutti, and about 60 string concertos without solo instruments which can be regarded as an early form of the symphony.
The concertos (e.g. 'The Four Seasons', 1725) are in three-movement form throughout, the first movement usually showing a clear ritornello structure. Their characteristic features are a subtly nuanced instrumentation, an effective melodic structure (especially in the slow middle movements influenced by the opera) and a lively rhythm. Vivaldi's style had a formative influence on many composers, as for example Bach's arrangements of his works show. Furthermore, Vivaldi wrote 46 operas (21 extant), three oratorios, more than 90 sonatas and trios, and numerous secular and sacred vocal works.