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Composer and Violinist Antonio Vivaldi Died in 1741

The prolific Italian-Baroque composer, Catholic priest, and virtuoso violinist Antonio Vivaldi is most well-known for "The Four Seasons"

 

Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist Antonio Vivaldi died on this day in 1741, aged 63.

Vivaldi's musical education began with his father, Giovanni Battista — a violinist at Saint Mark's Cathedral in Venice. Although he was musically gifted from childhood, his career was delayed at aged 15 when he began training for priesthood as the eldest in his family.

In 1703, he returned to his musical career and was appointed as a teacher at the Ospedale della Pietà, an orphanage and music school in Venice. Vivaldi made his debut as a composer of sacred vocal music in 1713 at the Ospedale della Pietà with great success, leading to more commissions and his first opera.

During his lifetime, Vivaldi wrote nearly 500 concerti, 230 of which were written for solo violin and 25 for cello. 25 of them were also written for two violins, while others were concerti grossi with three or more soloists or concerti ripieni, which do not feature a soloist. He left behind approximately 90 sonatas and 50 vocal works — including over a dozen operas.

Through these works, Vivaldi left a profound mark on the concerto form, laying the foundation of what would become the classical three-movement concerto, which features two fast movements with a slow movement in between.

Vivaldi is most well-known for his cycle of programmatic violin concerti, "The Four Seasons," where each concerto accompanies a poem and depicts one of spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

In 1740, Vivaldi moved to Vienna and died in 1741. Vivaldi's funeral was held at St. Stephen's Cathedral, where Franz Joseph Haydn was a choir boy at the time.

 

JULIA FISCHER | VIVALDI | THE FOUR SEASONS | KENNETH SILLITO & ACADEMY OF ST. MARTIN IN THE FIELDS | 2011

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