Antonio Vivaldi, one of the major representatives of Baroque, is recognized as the founder of instrumental concerto genre, he marked the beginning of orchestra programme music.
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) was born in Venice on March 4, 1678. The first Vivaldi’s tutor was his father, violinist at St. Mark’s Cathedral. In 1703 Vivaldi took holy orders and in September, 1703 he started to work as a tutor at the orphanage called the Pio Ospedale delia Pieta. Vivaldi wrote his music very easily and quickly. In 1718-20 he lived in Mantua where he wrote operas for carnivals’ season and instrumental compositions for Mantuan Duke’s court. Then he returned to Venice. Soon after his death the name of the master was forgotten. Only after 200 years, in 1920-s of the XX century Italian music expert A. Gentili found unique collection of composer’s manuscripts (300 concertos, 19 operas, sacred and secular vocal compositions). Since then genuine renaissance of former glory of Vivaldi begins.
The Four Seasons by Vivaldi is one of the most popular compositions at all times. In 1725 one of the most famous composer’s opuses entitled “The Contest between Harmony and Invention” (op.8). This set includes violin concertos (here are 12 concertos) as previous sets as well. First 4 concertos of this set are entitled by the author, respectively, “Spring”, “Summer”, “Autumn”, and “Winter”.
Vivaldi wrote about 550 concertos, among them 350 – for solo instrument and orchestra (more than 230 for violin), about 40 for 2 instruments, more than 30 for several solos and about 60 for orchestra without solo. He wrote several concertos for unusual instrument’s combinations, such as viola d’amour and lute, and for wind instruments, including clarinet, horn, bassoon, oboe, and flute. Some of his concertos are programme, for example, “Storm at the Sea”, (3 concertos have such title), “Hunting”, “Anxiety”, “Rest”, “Night”, “Proteus, or the World Inside Out”. Vivaldi composed a lot of vocal music (both sacred and secular). He is the author of tens of operas (about 20 remained).