Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (* March 4, 1678 in Venice, † July 28, 1741 in Vienna) was a Venetian composer and violinist of the Baroque.

Life and work


Vivaldi's father, Giovanni Battista Vivaldi (1655-1736) came up with ten years from Brescia to Venice, where he initially worked as his father barber and later became professional violinist. His marriage to Camilla Calicchio, the daughter of a tailor, whom he married in 1676, were born nine children. The first-born Antonio Vivaldi allegedly came during an earthquake to the world and was notgetauft ( whether this was due to the disaster or whether here already loomed his later health problems is unknown).

Antonio was the only professional musician among his siblings. 1685 Father Vivaldi received a job as a violinist at St. Mark's; he enjoyed a good reputation as a musician, had mentioned as a member of the Society of St Cecilia variety of relationships within the Venetian musical life and was in a guide book as worth listening violin virtuoso. Antonio early showed his musical talent on the violin and is supposed to have been represented in his youth the father in the orchestra. Music theoretical lessons could he have received at Giovanni Legrenzi, but already in 1690 died; at this time Vivaldi was only twelve years old, which makes the assumption unlikely.

Priest and teacher

At 15, Antonio received the tonsure and the first lower Weihe, which according to the fashion of no decision was connected for the priesthood, but probably the target of a slightly high social status. The decision for the clergy was, however - more or less authentic - when he received the first higher ordination as subdeacon at age 18. The training to become a priest, less a study of theology as a professional training, he graduated in two nearby parishes.

At 25 years old, only one year later than canon law at the earliest possible, he was ordained a priest. He was then chaplain affiliated with the Church of S. Maria della Pietà and at the request of Francesco Gasparini violin teacher at the Ospedale della Pietà, one of these church orphanage for girls. One and a half years he read there fairs. Then he gave to the exercise of the priesthood for ever, which he founded in a much later letter with health problems; he writes of strettezza di petto, ie " chest tightness ", which should indicate angina or perhaps even asthma.

As is apparent from the payroll of the Ospedale della Pietà, he was employed in a short time not only as a violin teacher, but also as a teacher of cello and viola d' amore ( Viola all'inglese ). From an anecdote shows that he also played the harpsichord.

Because of his father by Giambattista (referred to as Rossi or Rossetto ) inherited hair color, he was known as Il Prete Rosso ( " The Red Priest ").

Violin Concertos for the girl orchestra

Vivaldi managed the orchestra of the Ospedale della Pietà ( one of four homes in Venice for orphan girls ), beginning in 1703 as maestro di violino, 1704 in addition as maestro di viola all'inglese. The post as an instrumental teacher he held until the year 1716 ( with an interruption from February 1709 to September 1711 ), he was appointed musical director ( maestro de ' concerti ). The orchestra soon acquired a legendary reputation for its time and attracted numerous travelers in Italy. For the Ospedale most of his numerous violin concertos and sonatas originated. They have been making music in the worship services. Of these, 30 violin concertos for the violinist Anna Maria are written, his student and later colleague at the Ospedale della Pietà.

After two printed in Venice sonata collections (12 Trio Sonatas Op 1, printed in 1705, and 12 violin sonatas op 2, printed 1709) Vivaldi was with the concert collection L' estro armonico (about: " The harmonious inspiration " ), Op 3 ( printed 1711 ) a European celebrity. Until 1729 a total of 12 collections, all of which were printed from op 3 in Amsterdam published. The twelve Concertos op 8 ( printed 1725) Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione (about: " The contest between harmony and invention " ) as the first four shows of the famous Le quattro stagioni ( The Four Seasons ).

Opera composer and director in Venice and Mantua

During his employment at the Ospedale della Pietà, Vivaldi began composing operas. Starting with Ottone in villa, which was premiered in 1713 in Vicenza, should follow to 1739 more than fifty operas. In addition to his appointment at the Ospedale della Pietà, Vivaldi took on more and more the function of an impresario at the Venetian theater Sant'Angelo. On the occasion of the Venetian composer Vivaldi Turkish war in 1716 a patriotic oratorio Juditha triumphans whose material is taken from the Book of Judith.

After disputes in Venice in 1718, he moved to Mantua, where he mainly worked as a director and composer of opera in the service of the Landgrave Philip of Hesse- Darmstadt. After 1721 he stayed several times in Rome, played twice before the Pope and received many orders for opera and church music.

In 1726, he returned as musical director of the Teatro Sant'Angelo back to his hometown of Venice. There he was, both as a composer and as a violin virtuoso living legend and the " pilgrimage " for many musicians from all over Europe. Around this time he also met the then 16 -year-old Anna Girò, a singer of French origin (originally Giraud ), know, which henceforth accompanied him on his travels. Between 1729 and 1733 Vivaldi attended many northern Italian cities (Verona, Ancona, Reggio and Ferrara) and was probably also in Prague, where two of his operas were premiered.

Change of style to Vienna early classical

Around 1730 began a change in style - away from the baroque to galant style. This was Vivaldi's compositions appear more unattractive the Venetian audience especially. Probably, therefore, he moved to Vienna in 1740 to assist in the Emperor Charles VI. to seek; However, he died in October 1740. The once most famous musicians in Europe remained in Vienna unnoticed by the music world.

Vivaldi died ten months after his arrival on July 28, 1741 in Vienna and was buried in a simple grave at the Spitaller God Sacker before Kärntnertor in its place is now the main building of the Technical University of Vienna ( Charles Square ) is located. There, a memorial plaque to him is appropriate. 1972 Vivaldi Lane in Vienna-Favoriten was named after him.


Of the nearly 500 concerts Vivaldi 241 obtained for violin as a solo instrument. In second place are 39 bassoon concertos. The other concertos are for various woodwind instruments, a few for cello, but also for unusual instruments such as the viola d' amore or mandolin. In an opera aria he even put a salterio a (Italian Baroque dulcimer). The Convention accordingly require - up to the six flute concertos, Op 10 - all published collections concert one or more solo violins. Around 70 concerts are for two or more soloists, some of which with its exceptional instrument combinations - in concert RV 555 solo group is extended even to 16 soloists (!) - Show the pronounced sense of sound and experimentation Vivaldi.

Vivaldi brought the recital as a major form of High Baroque, and he helped three-movement works to break through. In the quick outer movements he sat for the first time systematically the ritornello form one in which repeated the orchestra a musical passage several times, alternating with solo sections that have a freer, more episodic character and contain modulatory passages. His slow middle movements are characterized by melodic lines of the solo instrument.

Besides documenting around 55 Ripienokonzerte (concerts without soloists ) and about 21 chamber concerts (concerts for soloists without orchestra ) an intensive experimentation with the concerto form. The 49 previously identified operas by Vivaldi have been gradually rediscovered in the 1970s and played at festivals or produced for CDs. Your scores or remnants of old note stocks are largely preserved in the Biblioteca Nazionale in Turin.

Only in recent years is also Vivaldi's extensive spiritual work again attention. Frequently we find here the same upbeat, virtuosic style and a similar experiment as in his solo concerts.

Vivaldi was very influential not only in northern Italy, but also in Germany. Johann Georg Pisendel spread to his trip to Italy Vivaldi's techniques at the Dresden court. Johann Sebastian Bach's style made ​​under the influence of Vivaldi by a profound advancement; among others, Bach transcribed a number of concerts for harpsichord and for organ.


Subsequent works were published during his lifetime Vivaldi and mostly in Amsterdam. One can assume that most of these works were written in a period up to ten years before printing.

  • Op. 1: 12 trio sonatas da camera for 2 violins and basso continuo (1705 )
  • Op. 2: 12 sonatas for violin and basso continuo ( 1709)
  • Op. 3: 12 L' estro armonico concertos for 1-4 solo violins and orchestra (1711 )
  • Op. 4: 12 Violin Concertos La stravaganza ( 1712)
  • Op. 5: 6 Sonatas for 1 or 2 violins ( 1716)
  • Op. 6: 6 Violin Concertos ( 1716)
  • Op. 7: 12 violin and oboe concertos ( 1717)
  • Op. 8: 12 Violin Concertos Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione ( 1725), is: The four seasons
  • Op. 9: 12 Violin Concertos La cetra ( 1727)
  • Op. 10: 6 Flute Concertos (1728)
  • Op. 11: 6 violin and oboe concertos ( 1729 )
  • Op. 12: 6 Violin Concertos ( 1729 )
  • Op. 13: 6 Sonatas for flute and basso continuo Il pastor fido (1737; Fake)
  • Op. 14: 6 sonatas for cello and basso continuo (1740 )


Vivaldi's music was soon forgotten. It was not until the early 20th century people began increasingly interested in Vivaldi. 1926, offered Salesian monks of Montferrat to a music collection of the Turin National Library for purchase. A reviewer could find that 97 volumes of Vivaldi's music - mostly autograph scores - contained, including twelve operas, cantatas 29 and 140 instrumental works. A year later, they bought the collection. Upon closer inspection you had to find that the band count had gaps, so it was only about half of a larger collection. The second part was soon found out the nephew of the Marquis Marcello Durazzo, and so the collection was reunited in 1930. The purchases were financed by the way using Roberto Foà and Filippo Giordano, which is why the Turin manuscripts also Raccolta Foà - called Giordano ( raccolta = collection ). Thus, most of the compositions of Vivaldi was rediscovered in 1930. Up to the present, however, appear always new works on, about 1973, a collection of twelve partially autograph sonatas in Manchester. Also worth mentioning are several psalm finds in Dresden in 1991, 2003 and 2005 by Peter Ryom and Janice Stockigt.

List of Works

Already Johann Gottfried Walther and Ernst Ludwig Gerber took in the 18th century, the attempt to list Vivaldi's works. The first reasonably systematic work of enumeration took Mario Rinaldi ( RN or op ) in 1943 or 1945. 1948 published Marc Pincherle (P, PS or PV for Pincherle directory ) a list of instrumental works by Vivaldi, which, however, by the progressive research and emergence of other works soon proved to be incomplete. 1968 wrote Antonio Fanna (F ) is also a list of instrumental works, which is principally the 530 released by the publisher Ricordi works. The Danish musicologist Peter Ryom ( b. 1937 ) published 1973 ( German 1974), finally, an updated list of works, the so-called Ryom directory ( RV). This has prevailed over the others today. Published in 2007 an extended version.