Antonio Vivaldi

Vivaldi, Antonio (äntôˈnyō vēvälˈdē) [key], 1678–1741, Italian composer. He was the greatest master of Italian baroque, particularly of violin music and the concerto grosso. Vivaldi received his early training from his father, a violinist at St. Mark's, Venice, and later studied with Giovanni Legrenzi. Ordained a priest in 1703, Vivaldi spent most of his life after 1709 in Venice, teaching and playing the violin and writing music for the Pietà, one of Venice's four music conservatories for orphaned girls. Although he produced quantities of vocal music (including 46 operas), he is remembered chiefly for his instrumental music—sonatas; concerti grossi, including four famous ones known as The Four Seasons; and 447 concertos for violin and other instruments. Vivaldi's style is characterized by driving rhythm, clarity, and lyrical melody. He helped standardize the three-movement concerto form later used by J. S. Bach and others. Vivaldi's brilliant allegros and impassioned slow movements were greatly admired by Bach, who arranged 10 of the solo concertos for other instruments. After Vivaldi's death his music was forgotten, but in the early 20th cent. his works were rediscovered.

See biographies by W. Kolneder (tr. 1971) and A. Kendall (exp. ed. 1989).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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