Antonio Vivaldi


Born: Mar 4, 1678; Italy   Died: Jul 28, 1741; Austria   Period: Baroque
The creator of hundreds of spirited, extroverted instrumental works, Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi is widely recognized as the master of the Baroque instrumental concerto, which he perfected and popularized more than any of his contemporaries. Vivaldi's kinetic rhythms, fluid melodies, bright instrumental effects, and extensions of instrumental technique make his some of the most enjoyable of Baroque music. He was highly influential among his Read more contemporaries and successors: even as esteemed a figure as Johann Sebastian Bach adapted some of Vivaldi's music. Vivaldi's variable textures and dramatic effects initiated the shift toward what became the Classical style; a deeper understanding of his music begins with the realization that, compared with Bach and even Handel, he was Baroque music's arch progressive. Though not as familiar as his concerti, Vivaldi's stage and choral music is still of value; his sometimes bouncy, sometimes lyrical Gloria in D major (1708) has remained a perennial favorite. His operas were widely performed in his own time.
Details regarding Vivaldi's early life are few. His father was a violinist in the Catherdral of Venice's orchestra and probably Antonio's first teacher. There is much speculation about other teachers, such as Corelli, but no evidence to support this. Vivaldi studied for the priesthood as a young man and was ordained in 1703. He was known for much of his career as "il prete rosso" (the red-haired priest), but soon after his ordination he declined to take on his ecclesiastical duties. Later in life he cited ill health as the reason, but other motivations have been proposed; perhaps Vivaldi simply wanted to explore new opportunties as a composer. It didn't take him long. Landing a job as a violin teacher at a girls' orphanage in Venice (where he would work in one capacity or another during several stretches of his life), he published a set of trio sonatas and another of violin sonatas. Word of his abilities spread around Europe, and in 1711 an Amsterdam publisher brought out, under the title L'estro armonico (Harmonic Inspiration), a set of Vivaldi's concertos for one or more violins with orchestra. These were best sellers (it was this group of concertos that spurred Bach's transcriptions), and Vivaldi followed them up with several more equally successful concerto sets. Perhaps the most prolific of all the great European composers, he once boasted that he could compose a concerto faster than a copyist could ready the individual parts for the players in the orchestra. He began to compose operas, worked from 1718 to 1720 in the court of the German principality of Hessen-Darmstadt, and traveled in Austria and perhaps Bohemia. Throughout his career, he had his choice of commissions from nobility and the highest members of society, the ability to use the best performers, and enough business savvy to try to control the publication of his works, although due to his popularity, many were published without his consent. Later in life Vivaldi was plagued by rumors of a sexual liaison with one of his vocal students, and he was censured by ecclesiastical authorities. His Italian career on the rocks, he headed for Vienna. He died there and was buried as a pauper in 1741, although at the height of his career his publications had earned a comfortable living. Read less

Work: Concerto for Strings in G major, RV 151 "Alla rustica"

Browse 26-35 of 35 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Die Rohre (The Tube) / Stuttgarter Kammerorchester [Vinyl]
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: TACET074LP Release Date: 11/26/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arcangelo Corelli,  Heinrich Ignaz Biber,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Luigi Boccherini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
    LP: $34.99
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  • 27.
    Die Rohre - The Tube / Stuttgarter Kammerorchester
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 74 Release Date: 10/15/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Charles Avison,  Giovanni Battista Sammartini,  Luigi Boccherini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $21.49
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  • 28.
    The Perfect Vivaldi
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67219 Release Date: 10/05/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  William Bennett,  Niall Brown,  André Saint-Clivier,  Aimee Auriacombe  ... 
    Conductor:  George Malcolm,  Jonathan Rees,  Louis Auriacombe,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Scottish Ensemble,  Toulouse Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 29.
    Vivaldi: 9 String Concertos / I Musici
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 411035 Release Date: 08/30/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 30.
    Vivaldi: Concertos For Strings / Dubeau, La Pieta
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 23128 Release Date: 08/25/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Angčle Dubeau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Pieta
    CD: $17.99
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  • 31.
    Vivaldi: Concerto for 2 Mandolins, Etc / Pickett, Hogwood
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 455703 Release Date: 10/14/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Monica Huggett,  Susan Sheppard,  Elizabeth Wilcock,  Catherine Mackintosh  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  Joshua Rifkin,  Philip Pickett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Bach Ensemble,  New London Consort
    CD: $19.99
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  • 32.
    Vivaldi: Concerti For Strings / Alberto Martini
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553742 Release Date: 05/13/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Conductor:  Alberto Martini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accademia I Filarmonici
    CD: $9.99
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  • 33.
    Vivaldi: Eleven Concertos / Bylsma, Lamon, Tafelmusik
    Label: Sony Classical Vivarte Series   Catalog: 62719 Release Date: 04/01/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Jeanne Lamon,  Washington McClain,  John Abberger,  David Greenberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
    CD: $8.99
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  • 34.
    Strings - The Definitive Collection / Guildhall Ensemble
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 61275 Release Date: 07/13/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Roman Hoffstetter  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Nicholson
    Conductor:  Paul Nicholson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guildhall String Ensemble
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 35.
    Vivaldi: Four Seasons, Etc / Nishizaki, Gunzenhauser
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550056 Release Date: 06/30/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki
    Conductor:  Stephen Gunzenhauser
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana
    CD: $9.99
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