- Complete Concerti
- Opus 1: Sonate da camera
- Opus 2: Sonatas
- Opus 3: L’Estro Armonico
- Opus 4: La Stravaganza
- Opus 5: Six Violin Sonatas
- Opus 6: Concerti a cinque stomenti
- Opus 7: Concerti a cinque stomenti
- Opus 8: Il Cimento dell’ Armonia e dell’ Invenzione (Includes The Four Seasons)
- Opus 9: La Cetra
- Opus 10: Concerti a flauto traverso
- Opus 11: Concerti a cinque stomenti
- Opus 12: Concerti a cinque stomenti
- Opus 13: Il Pastor Fido
- Opus 14: Six Cello Concertos
- Violin Sonatas, RV 1-37 (Opus 2 and 5)
- Cello Sonatas, RV 41-47
- Flute Sonatas, RV 48-51
- Oboe Sonata, RV 53
- Trio Sonatas for two violins and continuo, RV 60-79 (Opus 1)
- Sonatas for two instuments continuo, RV 80-86
- Concertos for various combinations of instuments without orchestra, RV 87-108
- Concertos for viola d’more and orchestra, RV 392-397
- Concertos for cello and orchestra, RV 398-424
- Concerto for mandolin and orchestra, RV 425
- Concertos for recorder and orchestra, RV 441-442
- Concertos for oboe and orchestra, RV 446- 465
- Concertos for bassoon and orchestra, RV 466-504
- Double Concertos, RV 531- 548
- Concertos for three or more solo instuments and orchestra, RV 549- 580
- Vocal and Choral Works
- Gloria in D major, RV 589, Mass
- Dixit Dominus in D major, RV 594, psalm
- Beatus vir in G major, RV 597, psalm
- Magnificat in G minor, RV 610, Mass
- Juditha Triumphans, RV644, oratorio
- Il Mopso, RV 691,for 5 voices
- La Sena Festeggiante, RV 693, serenata for 3 voices
- Bajazet, RV 703, opera
- Catone in Utica, RV 705, opera
- Dorilla in Tempo, RV 709,opera
- La fida Ninfa, RV 714, opera
- Giustino, RV 717, opera
- Griselda, RV 718, opera
- L’Incoronazione di Dario, RV 719, opera
- L’Olympiade, RV 725, opera
- Orlando finto pazzo, RV 727, opera
- Orlando furioso, RV 728, opera
- Ottone in villa, RV 729, opera
- Teuzzone, RV 736, opera
- Tito Manilo, RV 738, opera
- La verita in cimento, RV 739, opera
The four seasons
Vivaldi’s most famous work is the four seasons. Nowdays since the Vivaldi revival in the middle of the century, the four seasons have become one of the most popular and recorded classical music pieces. If you want to get a start with Vivaldi the four seasons are a logical and easy place to start.
The four seasons are four concertos for solo violin, first violins, second violins, violas, cellos [basses] and continuo (usually played by harpsicord). These concertos are the first four of Vivaldi’s opus 8, the trial between harmony and invention. The title is suggestive of an artistic statement, the balance between musical logic and inventive creativity.
The four seasons are highly programatic, vivaldi published poems with the works and even had each line of the poems put where the programatic effect is occurring.
Spring has come, and the brids greet it festivelt with a cheerfull song; And with the breath of the gentle breezes springs trickle with a pleasant murmur. Lightening and thunder, elected to announce it, come and cover the air with a black cloak. Once they are quiet, the birds return to their enchanting song. Then on the pleasant, flowering meadow a goatherd with his faithful dog at his side, sleeps to the sweet murmur of the foiliage and plants. To the festive sound of a rustic bagpipe nymphs and shepherds dance under the beloved canopy at the brilliant appearence of spring.
Under the harsh season ignited by the sun, man and flock languish, and the pines burn; The cuckoo offers his voice and, soon heard, the young turtledove and goldfinch sing. Zepher (west wind) blows gently, but suddenly boreas (north wind) offers opposition to his neighbor; and the shepherd boy weeps, because he fears a severe storm in the offing - and his destiny. The repose of his tired limbs is disturbed by the fear of lightning and fiery thunder, and by a furious swarm of flies and wasps. Unfortunately, his fears are justified. The sky thunders and fuminates, and hail flattens the corn and majestic grains.
The peasant celebrates the blissful pleasure of a happy harvest with dances and songs, and glowing with the liquor of Bacchus, many complete their enjoyment with sleep. The air tempered by pleasure, makes everyone give up dances and songs. It is this season that invites so many to the great enjoyment of a sweet sleep. At dawn the hunters are off to the hunt with horns, rifles, and dogs. The wild beast flees, and they follow its trail. Frightened already, and fatigued by the noise of rifles and dogs, wounded, it threatens languidly to flee, but, overcome, it dies.
To tremble from the cold in the icy snow, in the harsh breath of a horrid wind; to run, stamping our feet every moment, our teeth chattering in the extreme cold. Before the fire to pass peaceful contented days while the rain outside pours down. To walk on the ice and, at a slow pace for fear of falling, move carefully. To make a bold turn, to slip, to fall down. To go on the ice once more and run hard until the ice breaks up. To hear the sirocco, (warm south wind) boreas, and all the winds at war leave their iron gates: this is winter, but, even so, what joy it brings!
(contributed by Wes & Ann Judkins <judkinsic.mankato.mn.us>)
Vivaldi in his time was a composer of great inventiveness an pizazz. I his day Vivaldi wowed audiences with his violin virtuosity. Here is a quote by someone who heard Vivaldi play Feb. 4 1715. "Towards the end Vivaldi played a solo accompaniment exellently, and at the conclusion he added a free fancy [improvised cadenza] which absolutely astounded me, for it is hardly possible that anyone has ever played, or ever will play, in such a fashion. He put his fingers but a hair’s breath from the bridge, so that there was scarcely room for the bow, and he did this on all four strings with fuges [i.e. imatations and/or variations] and with incredible speed. Everyone was astounded, but it can hardly be described as captivating, for it was more deftly played than pleasing to the ear." Vivaldi has a very destinct style of composition almost as outragous to his contemporaries as his violin playing. His style was concidered to be excentric and overly energetic by most. But amoung composers such as Johann Quantz and J.S. Bach he was greatly admired. He was widely imitated and had much luck publishing his works. Bach himself transcribed many of Vivaldi’s concertos for keyboard. Vivaldi seemed to have had less success on the opera scene which he entered enthousiastically at a rather early age. Devoting too much time to his unsuccessful operas would be a downfall in Vivaldi’s luck in the public scene an his reputation. Even some of his great supporters an admirers turned on him towards the end of his career. Vivaldi died in 1741; he had lost his fame and fortune and like Mozart was buried in an anonymous pauper’s grave. After his death Vivaldi was forgotten completely till the revival of Bach, where musicologists found Bach’s transcriptions of Vivaldi’s concertos. This sparked an interest and a Vivaldi revival began. Nowdays he is more popular than he was in his own lifetime. Some still doubt the powerful energy and musical contributions that Vivaldi has given the world of music. If they would listen more carefully and look more closely they could not deny the genious of Vivaldi.
Vivaldi’s style is one of sheer energy and vitality, yet he has a cantable side to him. Many of Vivaldi’s fast movements use a ritornello form (A B A C A D A). The A’s are tutti passages usually dealing with the main ritornello theme; the middle ritornello may be modutated or be played a 3rd or a 5th above the original. the other letters indicate solos. Vivaldi’s lyrical and melodic side is virtually unsurpassed. He has a great melodic and rythmic inventiveness. Vivaldi seems to be an advocate of the basso continuo accompaniment. In his compositions Vivaldi shows maturity of another era but the stylistic tendecies are totally baroque. Vivaldi’s music is so stylistically original that in a way it seems he was in his own era. As said before, Vivaldi did not try to do away with basso continuo though in even his earliest concertos he likes to use a variety of accompaniment combinations. In his string concertos he uses combinations of accompaniment such as, one violin, two violins, orchestra violins, violas, all high strings, tasto solos and the whole orchestra. This plus the other elements Vivaldi puts into place make his work endlessly entertaining.
Here I will list Vivaldi’s contributions to music.
- Greatly advanced violin technique.
- Fathered the present form of the solo concerto.
- Established the three-movement concerto form.
- Developed the cadenza greatly (may have fathered the written cadenza).
- Helped develop solo sonata.
- Introduced new bowings and techniques for stringed instruments.
- Pushed programmatic music a step further ("The four seasons").
- Opened the door for modern instruments by writing many advanced and previously virtuosically unmatched concertos and sonatas for instruments new at the time but now standard.
- Spread a more advanced style for the concerto (grosso) across Europe.
- Created a new dimension of origanality in spirit of the composer that would be a standard of freedom that composers allowed themselves only match in a later era.
In a reaction Chris Sherbanuk <sherbanukcaugustana.ab.ca> wrote:
[...] I don’t know If I can accept Vivadli’s involvement in opera as the sole reason for his downfall, but perhaps instead, it was his apparent need to sustain to musical genres simultaneously, namely opera and concerto. Also, Vivaldi’s operas were very well received in their day, and "the theatres of Venice staged more works of his than of any other composer" (Grout and Palsica; A History of ' Western Music, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1988). Nevertheless, it would seem that Vivaldi could not satisfy both compositional directions (or be loyal to both) and made things difficult for the composer, eventually causing him to fall out of favor with his public; even the governors at the Pieta began to doubt him, and he even had to acquire special permission to continue composing operas. It is true that Vivaldi was admired by composers like Bach (although the later tended to regard Vivaldi’s work as deficient). Still though, Bach owes to Vivaldi a tremendous debt, since Antonio was an important influence in Bach’s growth as a composer.
Les and Ann wrote: "Vivaldi seemed to have had less success on the opera scene, which he entered enthusiastically at an early age."
Actually, Vivaldi was nearly forty when his first opera "Ottone in Villa" was staged in Vicenza in 1713. Vivaldi is known chiefly as a composer of concerto. Until recent years, his operas were rarely performed. Thanks to some diligent detective work by the Turin library, many lost manuscripts have been recovered, providing insight into the composer’s operatic activities. Part of the Vivaldian revival has been a tendency on the part of listeners to acquire various recordings, and an interest on the part of performers to produce such recordings. For instance, in 1994, The Brandenburg Consort gathered with conductor Roy Goodman and soprano Emma Kirkby to record a CD of Vivaldi’s "Opera Arias and Sinfonias." Vivaldi’s activitie’s in the opera world cannont be understated; Walter Kolneder, a prominent Vivaldian scholar calls the world of opera "that place where Vivaldi entered into and found fulfillment." Furthermore, Vivaldi was no stranger to the operatic stage. His father apparently, spent most of his adult life in the theatre. Again, it was not Vivaldi’s late arrival (age 38) in opera that made things difficult, but rather his need to sustain two genres at the same time. As the composer began devoting more and more time to his operas, questions of legality came into play, and critics noticed a decline in the quality of his concertos; the governors at the Pietta were concerned that Vivaldi was spending too much time on opera composition, and made them feel that perhaps Vivaldi could not entirely fulfill his other, more pressing obligations; Vivaldi was composer, teacher, musical superintendant, orchestra supervisor, etc.
"Vivaldi was widely admired"
"and had much luck in publishing his works"
Uh, not exactly. Because composers are often judged by their publishing activities, publishing is usualy considered a universally desirable goal. Not true in Vivaldi’s case. In actuality, less than a third of all of his works ever found their way to a publisher. Composer Arcangello Corelli had better luck than Vivaldi, but then again, Vivaldi never really had to worry about reaching a widespread audience. Vivaldi travelled extensively, and his reputation as a virtuoso violinist spoke for itself. It wasn’t until the last years of his life, as his importance begann to diminish, that Vivaldi considered publishing, trying desperately to breath new life into his failing career. The Cello Sonatas, Opus 14 were some of the last works to be published.
Wes & Ann Judkins in response to Chris Shorbanuk’s reaction:
Vivaldi really did have much luck as a published composer because though less than one third of his works were published, these works (notably opus 3. concerti) enjoyed great popular success, wide distribution and wide and profound influence on the musical world. Few composers have a majority of their works published during their lifetimes, so the success cannot be measured much in this way. And true that Corelli got everything published that he wrote, his luck was not any better than Vivaldi’s. One reason is because Corelli only wrote 48 short trio sonatas, six violin sonatas and 12 concerti grossi (published by a pupil after his death). Thus I would say Vivaldi deserves a title as a successful publisher of his music during his lifetime.