[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Antonio Vivaldi and the music of his time
        Throughout history there have been many distinct periods of time. These
various eras are all alike in a way because they all slowly flow into each
other. One of these unique times was called the Baroque period. The Baroque
time began during the 1600's and ended early during the early 1700's. The
way Baroque music was looked at was varied depending on where you looked at
it from. In Italy, it was largely energetic and spectacular. Yet, if you
were to travel North, you would encounter the "gloom's of muted firelight."
 This, along with the "shadowy pales of another world,"  simply means that
this music wasn't greatly appreciated in Southern Italy, as it was more
towards the North.  The people of the North were not as affectionate
towards this type of music. Although, the more time that had passed in the
1600's, the more popular the baroque music became. It was greatly adored by
the listeners. The beauty that this type of music contained was extremely
astonishing. Also the drama in this type of music and theatre was what made
this time stand out from the rest.
The actual term "baroque" is extracted from "baroco" which is a name used
by medieval philosophers to identify a reasoning that writers of the 16th
century found absurd and pointless. On the contrary, Baroque music is far
from being absurd or pointless.  The word "baroque" is derived from that or
from the word "barrochio" that is an Italian word used since the middle
ages to indicate shifty or tricky procedures. Wherever it's beginnings, the
word "baroque" had been used since the 18th century to indicate paintings,
poems, architecture, literature, and all else that is dynamic, dramatic,
and to some eyes, astonishing and incredibly even ugly.  This really comes
to a surprise to me because I've listened to baroque music like Antonio
Vivaldi and Johann Sebastian Bach and none of the music struck me as being
"ugly." The first word that came to mind when I was listening was "relaxing."
        Like all other music, there are some people that think higher of it then
others. Sir Francis Bacon said, "^I cannot but be raised to this
persuasion, that this third period of time will far surpass that of the
Grecian and Roman learning^"   After reading this quotation you can clearly
see that Sir Francis Bacon thinks the Baroque time is far superior to the
Grecian and Roman periods.  The basis of his opinion probably rests on the
fact that he has seen artwork, or heard music from the other two times he
had compared to the Baroque period (the Grecian and the Roman.)
        The Baroque time itself was filled with musical geniuses. People like
Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Philip Telemann, Johann Pachelbel, Franz Josef
Haydn, and Georg Frideric Handel. All of these people, were amazing when
holding an instrument, sitting at a piano, or writing on manuscript paper,
but the finished products (whatever they might be) were and always will be
superb.  Among these people, was Antonio Vivaldi.
        Antonio Vivaldi was born on March 4, 1678, and on May 6, 1678 he was
baptized by a mid-wife, because she was afraid he might die. This woman's
name was Madama Margarita.  Antonio Vivaldi's mother Camilla, the daughter
of a Venetian tailor Camillo Calicchio, marries Gianbattista Vivaldi on
August 6, 1677. Due to the stato libero, Antonio was presumably born
prematurely, and declared to be free from any impediment from matrimony,
also because he was not baptized in church until two months after his
birth. Antonio Vivaldi, being a sickly child from the very start was ill,
and in fear of his death before being baptized, Madama Margarita had had
him baptized.
 The people, who studied and researched Antonio Vivaldi, in trying to trace
back his family history, could not trace back any farther than his paternal
grandparents, who lived in Brescia. Their son Giovanni Battista (or
Gianbattista) was born in 1665, and when he was ten, his mother took him to
Venice, presumably on the death of his father. Originally Vivaldi's dad had
become a barber, but he was also an accomplished violinist.  Which makes it
easy to understand where Antonio got his musical talent from (especially
with the violin.)
        Antonio Vivaldi's output was enormous. He wrote 94 operas, and although
theses are rarely revived, 19 of them are preserved. He had written around
500 concertos.   It is said that he invented the ritornello form. This is
where varied restatements in different keys of a refrain, alternate with
modulating episodes of free thematic character, where a soloist
predominates. If he did not invent this, he was certainly the first to use
this technique . If can be found in almost all of his works. The same is
true with  the three-movement plan. Several occasional features of Vivaldi
concertos were taken farther and standardized by his successors. Some of
his successors were the northern Italians, including Tartini and Locatelli.
 These men often used Antonio Vivaldi's techniques and strategies for their
own personal musical interpretations.
        Roughly 350 concertos are for one solo instrument and strings, over 230 of
them were made for the violin (this alone, shows Antonio Vivaldi's love for
the instrument.) Other solo instruments (in descending order of frequency)
are bassoon, cello, oboe, flute, viola d'amore, recorder, and mandolin.
There are 40 double concertos (meaning it was written for two different
instruments in particular,) mostly for two similar instruments but
including such rare combinations as viola d'amore and lute. He also really
liked, and wrote often, ensemble concertos, in which three or more soloists
participate, number over 30 and introduces, among other instruments,
clarinets, therbos, horns and timpani, also did this.
        Antonio Vivaldi also has his own original way of interpreting his thoughts
into his music. He will start out with an idea. Then, think of the music in
his head,which comes to mind when thinking of his idea. After that, he
writes down his ideas on manuscript paper and changes voices and other
noises into instrumental riffs and parts in the piece. For example, in the
central movement of the
"Spring" concerto, we hear simultaneously a sleeping shepherd (solo
violin,) a rippling brook (orchestral violins,) and a vigilant sheepdog (a
viola.)  This is just one of many examples of his outer surroundings
interpreted into his music.
        Going back to the baroque period, this is how that period of time and
Antonio Vivaldi tie together. Approximately 90 of his sonatas are by in
form and style reflecting the life and culture of Italy during the time of
Baroque. The special role of what was going on in Italy could easily be
interpreted through his music.  His most interesting sonatas are probably
the ones written for groups of two violins performable without bass. These
are the ones that sound the most acoustic. It sounds like this because of
the absence of the bass.
                Antonio Vivaldi died in July of 1741. The exact day of his death
is unknown (like his birth date) but he was buried on July 28, 1741. The
Italian composer was a major figure in Baroque music and he exercised a big
influence on the development of the concerto. His techniques and strategies
will be looked at and admired for years. His style has and will be mimicked
and redone. Antonio Vivaldi's music was forgotten for a century after his
death. Yet, after his death, Johann Sebastian Bach had arranged a number of
Antonio Vivaldi's concertos for the keyboard. As predicted, before his
death, his work was copied. Johann Sebastian Bach, a talented composer need
not use the work of others yet took it upon himself to use the previously
done work of Antonio Vivaldi, and arrange what he had done, for the
keyboard.  Large quantities of Antonio Vivaldi's works have been found
since the 1920's and they are now widely published, performed, and
recorded.  Even though directly after his death Antonio Vivaldi was in a
way forgotten about, he will always be remembered and honored as his works
play throughout churches, studios, and homes throughout the globe.
1) http://www.islandnet.com/~arton/baroque.html
2) http://www.columbia.edu/~ijhl/vol1no1.html
3) http://www.islandnet.com/~arton/baroque.html
4) http://www.columbia.edu/~ijhl/vol1no1.html
5) http://weber.u.washington.edu/~acamp/music/baroque.html
6)Vivaldi, Alan Kendall, p.13, 1978
7)Baroque, Harold Kellwroth, p.212, 1982
8)Baroque, Harold Kellwroth, p.245, 1982
9)Vivaldi, Alan Kendall, p.11, 1978
Search For:
Free Essays – Free Term Papers – Free Book Reports