Composer Worksheet #2 – Vivaldi
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Name________________________ Class______ Date________
Born: March 4, 1678, Venice
Died: July 28, 1741, Vienna
Full Name: Antonio Vivaldi
Genre of Music: Baroque
Performed as: Violinist
Number of Works He Composed: More than 400
concertos, as well as numerous operas and sacred music
Theological training: Vivaldi started as a priest in Venice, but in 1706 he was kicked out for
preferring music to Mass.
First gig, 1703-1716: Appointed director of the string orchestra at Pio Ospedale della Pietà
(Pious Hospital of Mercy), a prestigious girls’ orphanage in Venice famous for its musical training
program. Visitors would attend its church services because of the music and the concerts
Turning point, 1711: Vivaldi’s set of 12 concertos titled L’estro armonico (Harmonic invention),
became a best-seller, possibly the most influential music publication of the early 18th century.
His next publication, La stravaganza, another set of 12 concertos, confirmed his reputation.
Opera and church: Vivaldi wrote many religious works for the Pietà orphanage, culminating in
his second oratorio, Juditha triumphans (Judith triumphant, 1716). Meanwhile, he got into
opera as a theater manager and a composer.
Publishing wizard: Between 1723 and 1729, Vivaldi was contracted to supply two concertos per
month to the Pietà hospital. He wrote at least 140 and published some of them. The Op. 8, Il
cimento dell’ armonia e dell’ inventione (The contest between harmony and invention, 1725),
contains his famous Four Seasons. The Four Seasons are a group of four concertos that have
multiple movements. All four concertos represent a different season.
On the move: Vivaldi spent most of the 1730s producing his operas in various cities. At the time
of his death, his fortunes had reached a low ebb. He died in Vienna, too sick and too poor to
return to Venice.
Personal Life: Very little is known about Vivaldi's personal life. We know about his professional
career through the records of the places his music was performed. We know what people
thought of Vivaldi from letters they wrote praising or denouncing him. What we know from
Vivaldi's own mouth (or hand) is minimal. His personal opinions or thoughts are next to
impossible to determine, as are the events that have nothing to do with music; romance for
instance (only a step away from music.) Vivaldi did not marry, and it is not known if he had
romantic relations of any kind.
The “Red Priest”: Like his father, Vivaldi had flaming red hair. He also started out as a priest
before becoming a musician, hence his nickname.
Notorious: Vivaldi was reputedly vain and conceited, yet energetic and talented.
Spin Master: Vivaldi claimed to have composed 94 operas, but less than 50 are confirmed. He
also claimed to compose music faster than it could be copied.
The formula: The common criticism that Vivaldi’s music repeats itself too much originated with
musicians and writers in the 18th century.
Traveler: Although Vivaldi suffered from a serious lifelong condition (probably asthma), he took
frequent trips abroad, often with a large entourage.
1) How old was Vivaldi when he died?
2) Why is Vivaldi nicknamed the “Red Priest”?
3) Describe Vivaldi’s personality:
4) How many concertos per month was Vivaldi commissioned to write per month during
his stay at Pieta hospital? How many in total did he approx. write during his full stay at
5) Which music publication of Vivaldi’s was the most influential of the 18th century?
6) What was Vivaldi appointed the director of in 1703?
7) What was the last religious work Vivaldi wrote for the Pieta orphanage?
8) What is known about Vivaldi’s personal life outside of music?
9) How many different movements (parts) are in the piece of music that you watched?
(hint: each time there is an obvious break in the music – where it sounds like one part
ends and the next begins):
10) Describe in 1-2 sentences what types of images come to mind when listening
to/watching Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – Summer: