Monday, March 4, 2013
Baroque composer and virtuoso violinist Antonio Vivaldi was born on March 4, 1678, in the Republic of Venice. He was ordained a priest in 1704 and was called “il prete rosso" ("the red priest") because of his red hair. But he declined priestly duties and became a violin teacher at a Venetian girls' orphanage, composing trio sonatas and violin sonatas. By 1711 his concertos for one or more violins with orchestra had become popular throughout Europe. His vast body of work includes operas and other stage pieces, sacred music, concertos, and chamber and vocal works. He boasted that he could compose a concerto faster than a copyist could prepare orchestral parts for musicians. Vivaldi’s concertos “The Four Seasons” (1725) are among the brightest and most beautiful in all of Baroque music. J.S. Bach was deeply influenced by his concertos and arias, transcribing many of them for keyboard and other instruments.