Works of Vivaldi
He was one of the best known baroque composers in Italy and Europe. Known as Il prete rosso (“The Red Priest”), he had this nickname because he was a redheaded priest.
Son of the musician Giovanni Battista he will begin to play the violin with his father with whom he travelled around Venice playing this instrument. With health problems since his childhood, in 1693, at only fifteen years old, he begins to study priesthood to be ordained in 1703. In September of the same year, Vivaldi was appointed violin master at the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice, an institution for orphaned children that had a very well known women’s orchestra.
Since then Vivaldi begins to compose works for this institution, especially concerts, cantatas and sacred music.
From 1713 Vivaldi began to compose operas and became a famous businessman of this genre without abandoning his position in the Pietà.
His production consists of almost 800 works, including around 400 concerts and 46 operas.
10 most important works of Vivaldi
1. The Four Seasons
The four seasons are the most famous works of this composer and are now regularly performed in most concert halls around the world. These four violin concerts were composed around 1721. They are as follows:
Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, “La primavera” (Spring)
Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, “L’estate” (Summer)
Concerto No. 3 in F major, Op. 8, RV 293, “L’autunno” (Autumn)
Concerto No. 4 in F minor, Op. 8, RV 297, “L’inverno” (Winter)
2. Gloria RV 589 (c. 1713)
It is one of the most famous sacred works of the Venetian composer, composed as an opera, but without scenic representation. It is divided into recitatives (texts sung with harpsichord accompaniment) and arias (solo songs with orchestra accompaniment). It lasts approximately 30 minutes and is divided into twelve movements.
3. L’estro armonico (1711)
It is a collection of 12 concerts for violin and orchestra written in 1711.
Johann Sebastian Bach himself would make transcriptions of some of these concerts.
Sometimes these concerts are double, triple or quadruple, i.e. they can play more than one instrument as soloists. Their usual form has three movements, although in some cases they have four or even five movements.
4. L’Olimpiade (1734)
It is a musical drama by the author with libretto by Pietro Metastasio that he originally wrote for Antonio Candara. Vivaldi put him to music in 1734 to be represented in the theater Sant’Angelo.
This operatic drama in three acts tells the story of Lycidas, Megacle and Argene and the love stories between them that occur in the celebration of an Olympic Games in classical antiquity.
5. Concert for 2 trumpets and orchestra RV 537
Practically nothing is known about this concert but its beauty has made it very famous. Composed in three movements Allegro, largo y alegro
6. Stabat Mater, R.621. 1712
It is a sacred work commissioned for the feast of the patron saint of the church of Santa Maria della Pace in Brescia in 1712. It is based on the original poem by Jacobo da Todi from the 13th century relating Mary’s lament at the feet of Jesus crucified.
7. L’Olimpiade, RV725. 1734
L’Olimpiade is a dramma per musica in three acts whose libretto was originally written by Pietro Metastasio for an opera of the same name by Antonio Caldara premiered in 1733. Vivaldi’s version premiered in Venice at the Teatro di Sant’Angelo on February 17, 1734. It tells the story of Aristea, a Greek princess trophy of the winner of the Olympic Games, intended by Megacles and Lycidas.
8. Nulla in mundo pax. 1735
It is a sacred motet (composition of religious character) composed in 1735 on the basis of an anonymous Latin text.
The text describes the deficiencies of the world manifesting the tomorrow that exists in it. Jesus is as for the Christian salvation from all this sin.
9. Argippo. 1730
It is an opera premiered in Prague where the Venetian singer and businessman Antonio Denzio
He set out to bring Vivaldi’s music. The opera house of the court of Count Franz Anton von Sporck was premiered in 1730. The opera is set in a royal court in India and focuses on the story of a young princess and a dishonest suitor. The opera tells the story of an Indian princess and a suitor with bad intentions.
10. Concerto for Mandolin, strings and continuo RV 425. 1725
Composed in 1725, it is one of the few works of the author in which this instrument is part. It became famous in the last half century for its inclusion in the film Kramer v. Kramer in 1979. It consists of three movements, the best known of which is the first.