Antonio Lucio Vivaldi: An Italian Baroque Composer

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In early 18th century Venice there lived a red-haired priest named Antonio Lucio Vivaldi. Traveling with an entourage that nearly always included his elderly father, he oversaw the performance of operas and instrumental pieces that have come to define classical music as we now know it. Vivaldi was born on March 4th, 1678 and died on July 28th, 1741. He was many things, an Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher and cleric. He was an Italian priest and composer during the baroque period, known best for his impressive violin concerti. Born in Venice, he is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread across Europe.

Historical Background
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Vivaldi had five siblings: Margarita, Cecilia, Bonaventura, Zanetta, and Francesco. Vivaldi had many health problems, his common issue was strettezza di petto (tightness of the chest), which researchers think was either asthma, angina, or an unspecified neurological condition. Because of this ongoing issue, it was a huge barrier and stopped him from playing wind instruments, but it did motivate him to continue to learn and be great at the violin.
Vivaldi’s father taught him how to play the violin when he was a child. Giovanni Vivaldi loved music, and learned to play the violin well enough to join the orchestra of St. Mark’s Basilica, a position he held for the rest of his life. Since Vivaldi became an accomplished violinist, researchers assume that he had excellent fine motor coordination skills and had reasonably high stamina as long as he didn’t need to stand or speak (relating to his chest/breathing problems). While Vivaldi is most famous as a composer, he was regarded as an exceptional technical violinist as
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This was a common practice in poorer families; the priesthood assured him a livelihood. He was ordained a priest in 1703 at 25 years old, and was soon nicknamed il Prete Rosso, “The Red Priest”. (Rosso is Italian for “red”, and it referred to the color of his hair, which was a huge family trait.) As a priest, Vivaldi was given a special exemption not to perform Mass because, even as a young man, he sometimes couldn’t physically make it through the Eucharist. As he explained in a letter to his patron: “After being ordained a priest I celebrated Mass for a year or somewhat longer, after which I stopped because my ailment forced me to leave the altar three times without finishing Mass. I therefore spend most of my life at home, which I can only leave in a gondola or coach, because my chest ailment or constriction of the chest does not permit me to walk …No nobleman calls me to his house, not even our prince, because they all know of my condition. I usually go outside immediately after lunch, though never on foot … My travels were always very expensive because I always took along four or five persons to assist me.”

Musical Works Vivaldi himself has been criticized because many of 400+ concertos were predictable in style, but some of these concertos clearly demonstrated his willingness to indulge in experimentation and innovation. His “Four Seasons” is contains storms, bird calls, and other evocative
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