Vivaldi Sheet Music and Biography
Antonio Vivaldi was an Italian composer and violinist of the Baroque period, as well as being a priest and teacher. He influenced many composers with his innovative use of Baroque music.
Vivaldi wrote over five hundred concerto’s (almost half of these were for the violin) and forty-six operas.
You can download a selection of Vivaldi’s sheet music on our site of the Four Seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter as well as a many of his other famous works. Spring also features on our post on the subject of… Spring sheet music!
Antonio was born on 4 March 1678. His father, Giovanni Battista Vivaldi, was originally a barber and later in 1685 became a violinist to the San Marco Basilica in Venice. Giovanni was Antonio’s primary teacher and the two of them toured Venice together.
Vivaldi was the eldest of six children. He studied to become a priest and was ordained at the age of twenty-five. His distinguishable curly red hair earned him the nickname of il Prete Rosso (The Red Priest). Soon after his ordination, he received an exemption from attending mass, probably due to his health. He complained of a tight chest which could have been asthma.
In 1703 Vivaldi went to work at a convent, orphanage, and music school for girls called Pio Ospedale della Pietà. He worked there for thirty-seven years as a composer, teacher, and conductor.
Vivaldi was acquainted with royalty and was often commissioned to compose for special occasions. The French ambassador to Venice commissioned Vivaldi to compose the cantata Gloria e Imeneo (RV687) to celebrate the wedding of Louis XV.
- La Sena festeggiante (RV694) was commissioned by the French Embassy to celebrate the birth of the French royal princesses.
- He dedicated Opus 9, La Cetra to Emperor Charles VI who gave Vivaldi the title of Knight, a gold medal, and an invitation to Vienna.
- Vivaldi is most famous for his incredible Four Seasons. Here is a beautiful version of Part 1, Spring:
Did you Know?
- After his birth Vivaldi was immediately baptised, it is thought that this was due to an earthquake that took place in Venice that day or his ill health.
- His asthma didn’t affect his violin playing but did prevent him from ever playing wind instruments.
- Vivaldi’s music influenced Johann Sebastian Bach.
Despite his incredible successes, Vivaldi’s career declined in his later years as people’s tastes moved on and his music was no longer fashionable. He sold off his manuscripts way under their market value to finance a trip to Vienna, to see Emperor Charles VI. Unfortunately, his last royal connection had sadly died.
Vivaldi fell ill and died aged sixty-three on 28th July 1741. He had a very simple funeral, sadly without any music which suggests he died in poverty.
Vivaldi Sheet Music Downloads and Further Reading
On music-scores.com we have a large selection of Vivaldi sheet music in PDF format for you to download.
If you would like to read more about this prolific composer then look at Baroque Music, Wikipedia, and Britannica.
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