Introduction To The Composer | Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi was born on March 4th 1678 in Venice, Italy to a venetian baker turned professional violinist named Giovanni Battista, with whom the composer received his early musical education.
Early in life, Vivaldi entered the priesthood where, because of his bright red hair, he earned the nickname “Red Priest”.
In 1703 he became a music teacher at an orphanage for girls called the Seminario Musicale dell’ospedale della Pieta, a position which he held until 1740. Although he toured a great deal and was frequently absent.
Vivaldi may best be known as the champion of the Baroque concerto, having composed over 400 concertos throughout his life for various instruments including violin, cello, harp, flute, piccolo, and oboe, as well as 37 concertos for bassoon, a far less common featured instrument in concerto form.
Vivaldi influenced many future great composers with his contribution to the concerto form, including that of Johann Sebastian Bach who it is said to have greatly admired the composer’s musical ability.
Without question, Vivaldi’s most famous work is the set of four violin concertos entitled The Four Seasons which musically depict spring, summer, fall, and winter.
In June of 1741 Vivaldi travelled to Vienna where only one month later he died of unknown causes at the age of 67.
George Frederic Handel was born on February 23rd, 1685 in Halle, Germany.
Unlike most composers of his time, Handel did not inherit his desire to be a musician from his family. In fact, music was strongly discouraged and disapproved of. It is said that he would study music alone at night by candlelight. His father instead urged him to study law, which he did at the University of Halle. This, however, lasted only one year as in 1703 Handel left school to become a violinist in an opera orchestra in Hamburg, Germany.