Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi
And George Frideric Handel
Vivaldi 1678-1741
• Born in Venice. Father was a violinist
• Prepared for priesthood for one year
• Il Prete Rosso (red priest), due to red hair
• Violin teacher, composer and conductor at Pieta (school for orphaned
and illegitimate girls)
• Presented concerts every Sunday and holiday
• Famous and influential as a violinist and composer
• Best known for his 450 concerti grossi and solo concertos
• Solo concert: piece for a single instrument and orchestra
• Most Popular work : La Primavera (Spring) Concerto for violin and
String Orchestra, Op. 8. No. 1 from ‘The Four Seasons’
• Each is an example of program music: instrumental music associated
with a story , poem, idea or scene. Predecessor to program music of
the Romantic period
George Frederic Handel(1685-1759)
• German
• Master of Italian opera and English Oratorio
• Oratorio: large scale composition for chorus,vocal soloists and
orchestra, usually set to narrative text.
• No acting, scenery or costumes.
• Based on biblical stories, not intended for religious services.
• Succession of choruses ,arias, duets, recitatives and orchestra
• not from a musical family; father wanted him to study law
• Age 9: studying with local organist
• Age 11: composer and giving organ lessons
• Age 20: one of his operas was produced; Performing in Hamburg
opera house, where he was violinist and harpsichordist
• Age 21: moved to Italy
• Moved to London, where his opera Rinaldo was produced. He spent
the later half of his life in London (1712-1759)
• Became England’s important composer (favorite of Queen Anne)
• Director of the Royal Academy of Music
• Eventually formed a company to produce his works
• Even when he was almost blind: Given organ concerts and conducting
• Wrote a great deal of instrumental music
• Core of his work are Italian operas and English oratorios
• 39 Italian operas
• Oratorios based on old testament stories and have plots (Messiah,
1741 is the exception)