Vivaldi, Antonio (Lucio)

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Vivaldi, Antonio (Lucio)

Vivaldi, Antonio (Lucio), greatly renowned Italian composer; b. Venice, March 4, 1678; d. Vienna, July 28, 1741. He was the son of Giovanni Battista Vivaldi (b. Brescia, c. 1655; d. Venice, May 14, 1736), a violinist who entered the orch. at San Marco in Venice in 1685 under the surname of Rossi, remaining there until 1729, and was also director of instrumental music at the Mendicanti (1689-93). The younger Vivaldi was trained for the priesthood at S. Geminiano and at S. Giovanni in Oleo, taking the tonsure on Sept. 18, 1693, and Holy Orders on March 23, 1703. Because of his red hair he was called “il prete rosso” (“the red priest”). In 1703 he became maestro di violino at the Pio Ospedale della Pietà, where he remained until 1709. During this period, his first publ. works appeared. In 1711 he resumed his duties at the Pietà, and was named its maestro de’ concerti in 1716. In 1711 his set of 12 concerti known as L’estro armonico,op.3, appeared in print in Amsterdam; it proved to be the most important music publication of the first half of the 18thcentury. His first known opera, Ottone in Villa,was given in Vicenza in May 1713, and soon thereafter he became active as a composer and impresario in Venice. From 1718 to 1720 he was active in Mantua, where the Habsburg governor Prince Philipp of Hessen-Darmstadt made him maestro di cappella da (or di) camera, a title he retained even after leaving Mantua. In subsequent years he traveled widely in Italy, bringing out his operas in various music centers. However, he retained his association with the Pietà. About 1725 he became associated with the contralto Anna Giraud (or Giro), one of his voice students; her sister, Paolina, also became a constant companion of the composer, leading to speculation by his contemporaries that the two sisters were his mistresses, a contention he denied. His La cetra,op.9 (2 books, Amsterdam, 1727), was dedicated to the Austrian Emperor Charles VI. From 1735 to 1738 he once more served as maestro di cappella at the Pietà. He also was named maestro di cappella to Francis Stephen, Duke of Lorraine (later the Emperor Francis I), in 1735. In 1738 he visited Amsterdam, where he took charge of the musical performances for the centennial celebration of the Schouwburg theater. Returning to Venice, he found little favor with the theatergoing public; as a result, he set out for Austria in 1740, arriving in Vienna in June 1741, but dying a month later. Although he had received large sums of money in his day, he died in poverty and was given a pauper’s burial at the Spettaler Gottesacher (Hospital Burial Ground).

Vivaldi’s greatness lies mainly in his superb instrumental works, most notably some 500 concertos, in which he displayed an extraordinary mastery of ritornello form and of orchestration. More than 230 of his concertos are for solo violin and strings, and another 120 or so are for other solo instrument and strings. In some 60 concerti ripieni (string concertos sans solo instrument), he honed a style akin to operatic sinfonias. He also wrote about 90 sonatas. Only 21 of his operas are extant, some missing one or more acts. He also composed various sacred vocal works.


dramatic: Opera: Ottone in Villa (Vi-cenza, May 1713); Orlando finto pazzo (Venice, 1714); Nerone fatto Cesare (Venice, Carnival 1715); La costanza trionfante degl’amori e de gl’odii (Venice, Carnival 1716); Arsilda Regina di Ponto (Venice, 1716); L’incoronazione di Dario (Venice, Carnival 1717); Tieteberga (Venice, 1717); Scanderbeg (Florence, June 22, 1718); Armida al campo d’Egitto (Venice, Carnival 1718); Teuzzone (Mantua, Carnival 1719); Tito Manlio (Mantua, Carnival 1719); La Candace o siano Li veri amici (Mantua, Carnival 1720); La verità in cimento (Venice, 1720); Tito Manlio,pasticcio (Rome, 1720; in collaboration with G. Boni and C. Giorgio); Filippo Re di Macedonia (Venice, Carnival 1721; in collaboration with G. Boneveni); La Silvia (Milan, Aug. 26, 1721); Èrcole sul Termodonte (Rome, Jan. 23, 1723); Giustino (Rome, Carnival 1724); La virtù trionfante dell’amore e dell’odio overo II Tigrane (Rome, Carnival 1724; in collaboration with B. Micheli and N. Romaldi); L’inganno trionfante in amore (Venice, 1725); Cunegonda (Venice, Carnival 1726); La Fede tradita e vendicata (Venice, Carnival 1726); Donila in Tempe (Venice, 1726); Ipermestra (Florence, Carnival 1727); Siroe, Re di Persia (Reggio, May 1727); Farnace (Venice, 1727); Orlando (furioso) (Venice, 1727); Rosilena ed Oronta (Venice, Jan. 17,1728); L’Atenaide o sia Gli affetti generosi (Florence, Dec. 29, 1728); Argippo (Prague, 1730); Alvilda, Regina de’ Goti (Prague, 1731); La fida ninfa (Verona, Jan. 6,1732; rev. as II giorno felice); Semiramide (Mantua, Carnival 1732); Motezuma (Venice, 1733); L’Olimpiade (Venice, Carnival 1734); Griselda (Venice, May 1735); Aristide (Venice, May 1735); Bajazetor Tamerlano (Venice, Carnival 1735; based on music by other composers); Ginerva, Principessa di Scozia (Florence, Jan. 1736); Didone (London, April 1737); Catone in Utica (Verona, May 1737); II giorno felice (Vienna, 1737); Rosmira (fedele) (Venice, Carnival 1738; based on music by other composers); L’oracolo in Messenia (Venice, Carnival 1738); Feraspe (Venice, 1739). Serenatas: Le gare del doverefor 5 Voices (Rovigo, 1708); Dall’eccelsa mia Reggia (1725); Questa, Emilia gentilfor 4 Voices (Mantua, July 31, 1726); L’unione della Pace e di Martefor 3 Voices (Venice, 1727); La Sena festeggiantefor 3 Voices (1726); II Mopso (Venice, c. 1738); Le gare della Giustizia e della Pace; Mio cor povero corfor 3 Voices; 31 solo cantatas with Basso Continuo; 9 solo cantatas with Instrument(s) and Basso Continuo. Oratorios: La vittoria navale (Vicenza, 1713); Moyses Deus Pharaonis (Venice, 1714); Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie (Venice, 1716); L’adorazione delli tre re magi (Milan, 1722); other sacred vocal works include 7 masses or Mass sections, Psalms, hymns, antiphons, motets, etc. CONCERTOS AND SINFONÍAS (all publ. in Amsterdam): L’estro armonico,op.3 (2 books, 1711); La stravaganza,op.4 (2 books, c. 1714); VI concerti a 5 stromenti,op.6 (1716-17); Concerti a 5 stromenti,op.7 (2 books, c. 1716-17); II cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione,op.8 (2 books, 1725); La cetra,op.9 (2 books, 1727); VI concerti,op.10 (e. 1728); 6 concerti,op.ll (1729); 6 concerti,op.12 (1729). SONATAS: Suonate da camera a 3 for 2Violins and Violone or Harpsichord, op.l (Venice, 1705); Sonatefor Violin and Harpsichord (Venice, 1709; publ. as op.2, Amsterdam, 1712-13); VI sonatefor Violin or 2 Violins and Basso Continuo, op.5 (Amsterdam, 1716); VI sonatesfor Cello and Basso Continuo (Paris, 1740).


COLLECTED EDITIONS, SOURCE MATERIAL: G.F. Malipiero et al., eds., Le opere di A. V.(Rome, 1947-72). A new critical ed. commenced publication in Milan in 1982 under the auspices of the Istituto Italiano Antonio Vivaldi. P. Ryom ed. Verzeichnis der Werke A. V.s: Kleine Ausgabe (Leipzig, 1974; 2nded., 1979) and Repertoire des oeuvres d’A. V. (Vol. I, Copenhagen, 1986). See also M. Rinaldi, Catalogo numerico tematico delle composizioni di A. V.(Rome, 1945); M. Pincherle, Inventaire thématique (Paris, 1948; Vol. II of A. V. et la musique instrumentale);A. Fanna, A. V: Catalogo numerico-tematico delle opere strumentali (Milan, 1968; rev. ed., 1986); K. Heller, Die deutsche Überlieferung der Instrumentalwerke V.s (Leipzig, 1971); N. Ohmura, A Reference Concordance Table of V.’s Instrumental Works (Tokyo, 1972); P. Ryom, A. V: Table de concordances des oeuvres (Copenhagen, 1973); idem, Les Manuscrits de V.(Copenhagen, 1977); M. Talbot, A. V: A Guide to Research (N.Y., 1988). BIOGRAPHICAL, ANALYTICAL: A. V: Note e documenti sulla vita e sulle opere,Chigiana, I (1939); M. Abbado, A. V (Turin, 1942); M. Rinaldi, A. V (Milan, 1943); M. Pincherle, A. V. et la musique instrumentale (Paris, 1948); W. Kolneder, Aufführungspraxis bei V (Leipzig, 1955; 2nded., 1973); M. Pincherle, V.(Paris, 1955; Eng. tr., 1958); R. Eller, V.s Konzertform (diss., Univ. of Leipzig, 1956); G. Malipiero, A. V, il prete rosso (Milan, 1958); H. Rarig, The Instrumental Sonatas of A. V (diss., Univ. of Mich., 1958); L. Rowell, 4 Operas of A. V.(diss., Univ. of Rochester, 1958); W. Kolneder, Die Solokonzertform bei V (Strasbourg and Baden-Baden, 1961); R. Giazotto, V.(Milan, 1965); W. Kolneder, A. V: Leben und Werk (Wiesbaden, 1965; Eng. tr., 1970); R. de Cande, V.(Paris, 1967); M. Dunham, The Secular Cantatas of A. V. in the Foa Collection (diss., Univ. of Mich., 1969); Vana (Brussels, 1969); R. Giazotto, A. V.(Turin, 1973); W. Kolneder, Melodietypen bei V.(Berg am Irchel and Zürich, 1973); F. Degrada and M. Muraro, eds., A. V. da Venezia all’Europa (Milan, 1978); M. Talbot, V.(London, 1978; 4thed., rev., 1993); W. Kolneder, A. V: Dokumente seines Lebens und Schaffens (Wilhelm-shaven, 1979); E. Cross, The Late Operas of A. V, 1727-1738 (Ann Arbor, 1980); A. Bellini, B. Brizi, and M. Pensa, I libretti Vana: Recensione e collazione dei testimoni a stampa (Florence, 1982); K. Heller, Concerto ripieno und Sinfonia bei V.(diss., Univ. of Rostock, 1982); R.-C. Travers, La Maladie de V.(Poitiers, 1982); M. Collins and E. Kirk, eds., Opera and V.(Austin, Tex., 1984); H. Keller, A. V.(Leipzig, 1991); A. Fanna and M. Talbot, eds., V, vero e falso: Problemi di attribuzione (Florence, 1992); A. Hermes-Neumann, Die Flötenkonzerte von A. V.(Egelsbach, 1993); H.C. Robbins Landon, V: Voice of the Baroque (London, 1993); M. Talbot, The Sacred Vocal Music of A. V.(Florence, 1995); P. Everett, V: The Four Seasons and Other Concertos, op.8 (Cambridge, 1996); U. Dannemann, Befreiung aus der Bedrängnis: A. V.s 37. Konzerte für Fagott (Holzkirchen, 1997); F. Fanna and M. Talbot, eds., Cinquantianni di produzioni e consumi della musica dell’età di V, 1947-1997 (Florence, 1998); C. Fertonani, La musica strumentale di A. V. (Florence, 1998); M. Talbot, Venetian Music in the Age of V. (Aldershot, 1999).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Vivaldi, Antonio (Lucio)

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