This week, it’s music’s turn in the spotlight. And what music I have for you:
Antonio Vivaldi was born in 1678 in Venice. Most likely tutored in music by his father, he trained for the priesthood and was ordained in 1703. In that same year he was appointed violin master the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for foundlings (abandoned infants), an institution he was associated with for much of his life.
Shortly after ordination, he was forced to stop celebrating mass, possibly due to asthma. Still, he took his religion seriously, and earned some reputation as a religious bigot.
His first published music was in 1795 with a collection of trio sonatas, following in 1709 with a collection of violin sonatas. In 1711 he published a concerto for violin and strings, “L’estro armonico” (Opus 3). Between 1712 and 1719 he published 4 more concerto collections and another of violin sonatas. During this period he also composed sacred vocal music.
The 1720s found Vivaldi at the height of his powers. publishing 5 more concertos along with a number of operas. In the 1730s his career declined, and by 1739 it was said he was “no longer fashionable”. He died of an illness while traveling in 1741.