Vivaldi Concerto


Venice had unique atmosphere caused by it's history, landscape, culture and arts.

Venice was changing by 1700:

  • no longer a leading economic/political power -lost its dominant position for trading with Asia
  • no longer a leading policital power - lost possesions in eastern Meditarian to Austria
  • Venice therefore refocused its identity around culture e.g. arts+entertainment flourished, Venetian carnival attracted 10s of 1000s of foreiners per year, nobility enjoyed the amusement too.

Venice 18th century:

  • city of music.
  • wealth of vocal/instrumental music was perromed in the city's churches, opera houses, palace (palazzi) and open air.

Venice is where his fame and reputation grew.

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St Mark's Basilica - made Venice a musical centre

Church music flourished in mid-16th century.

St Mark's Bascila (Roman Catholic Cathedral in Venice) had the richest of Venice's musical traditions.

Musicians in Venice that attracted people to St Mark's and whole north of Italy:

  • Adrian Willaert
  • Claudio Menilo
  • Andrea Gabrieli
  • Giovanni Gabrieli 
  • Claudio Monteverdi

'maestri di capella' after Monteverdi weren't as talented:

  • Legrenzi - said to be Vivaldi's teacher, enlarger St Mark's orchestra to 34 instrumentalists e.g. Vivaldi's father was a violinist.
  • Lotti
  • Galuppi
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=institutions that raised orphaned and abandoned girls with government and private funds, and were attatched to hospitals.

By late 17th century, St Mark's and other leading churches' sacred music was being moved away from, moving towardsthe public favour of this 'ospedali' music.

some of these ophanages earned reputations in music e.g. Ospedale della Pieta, where Vivaldi was appointed as violin teacher in 1703. Most of his music was written for this orphanage and it was one of the most important musical venues in Venice.

Vivaldi had a direct link to the highest Venetian institution, which emplyed many renowned musicians.

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'L'estro armonico'

meaning  'harmonic inspiration' or 'harmonic fire' 

set of 12 string concertos

published in 1711 Amsterdam

concerto grossi 

standard trio sonata group form (2 violins and cello solos)

+more virtuosic/experimental violin 1 (as a virtuosic violinist he would often play violin 1)

develops his solo within/between the concertos 

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Instrumental Concerto

genre introduced by Vivaldi

when he first started writing these, it was still developing as an autonomous, clearly-structure, relatively fixed form

concerto usual form = 1 solo instrument and orchestra

BUT L'estro armonico = CONCERTO GROSSI

concerto grosso usual form = more than 1 solo ('grand concerto' in Italien)

  • alternation between solo passages in concertino
  • tutti passages through ripieno doubling
  • (also written by Corelli, Torelli and Handel)

this concerto grosso! = 2 violins and cello solos + accompaniment (v3, v4, 2 violas) + continuo

  • more demanding music for solo
  • more passages for solo violion 1 (like in his 'Spring' where even though there are solos for 2 violins, there are more moments of virtuoisity for violin 1)
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