26-09-2011 - Vivaldi
Details for Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
1/5. Donald Macleod explores the music of Vivaldi, presenting works including the Four Seasons.
2/5. Vivaldi takes on a prestigious teaching job and delves into opera.
3/5. Venice's favourite composer set his sights beyond his home city.
4/5. Why Vivaldi eschewed the altar for the opera stage.
5/5. A pauper's funeral: the tragic end to Vivaldi's life.
Last edited by french frank; 28-09-11 at 14:23.
Yes, there is Four Seasons, but as DM says, ‘Imaging hearing this for the first time’, or for that matter, Remember hearing this for the first time… and watch out for the episode on Thursday: La Fida Ninfa and Orlando Furioso performed by Jean-Christophe Spinosi and his Ensemble Matheus (wrong way round, whoever put the playlist together, honestly!). Not sure if I really want to listen to Friday’s programme though…
It's a mystery why the elderly Vivaldi chose to abandon his home in Venice, ending his days poverty stricken in a foreign land. Donald Macleod investigates.
[ed] On Thursday, we can also hear Catherine Bott singing.
Last edited by doversoul; 25-09-11 at 10:40.
I especially like the L'estro armonico concertos, of which one is due to be played in the CotW next week. A bit surprising that the Four Seasons turn up again in a programme subtitled 'The Forgotten Baroque Master' - not forgotten as far as those works go at any rate.
I remember the first time I heard the Four Seasons, or bits of them, 'incidental music' throughout a TV series 'Casanova' which starred Frank Finlay, in 1971 when I was a teenager. I bought the Classics For Pleasure LP (Kenneth Sillito, Virtuosi of England) and soon after I got the train to Edinburgh in order to buy an LP set of L'Estro Armonico
Originally Posted by doversoul
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Vivaldi is certainly not forgotten as far as R3 is concerned, his music his becoming more frequently played than ever before and the Four Seasons so far this year has, either individually or as a sequence of all four, already comfortably passed last years total and is set to double it in frequency.
But like Mozart's Eine kleine nachtmusic sheer repetition of The Four Seasons has all but killed it for me.
The other day I had to listen to the first few bars of the Mozart for over half an hour while waiting for help with something on the phone.
DM's trailer for CoTW:Vivaldi makes the rather startling claim that in 1952 no one on the planet would have heard of him. Can this be true? (I missed the first programme where he may have elaborated on this.)
I think I came across the Red Priest first from LPs of Das Alte Werk borrowed from the Union record library at University. I bought the St Martin in the Fields /Marriner LPs of L'Estro Armonico some time in the 1970s and played them to death, though I have to say often as background music. The concerto for two trumpets remains a favourie, and there is also one for two madolins (perhaps one of them played by a certain Corelli? ) although I don't own a recording.
I would be interested to know when other members first came across Vivaldi.
DM said something like ‘once there were only two records of Vivaldi on the entire globe.’ I think this is what the ‘forgotten composer’ refers to.
It was I Musici’s Four Seasons for me in the late 60s back in Japan. It was more ‘Four Seasons’ than Vivaldi then. The record was such a huge hit that it looked as if no other works could follow. I have come to his vocal works only recently. There are some delightful works but I don’t disagree with those who say ‘but he is not Handel.’
From old R3 MBs:
Poster A: Sainsbury’s sells potatoes called Vivaldi.
Poster B: They must be available all year round.
Last edited by doversoul; 28-09-11 at 08:44.
1964 - Julian Bream's record of the Concierto de Aranjuez, a Vivaldi concerto and numbers from Britten's Gloriana.
My first exposure to the Four Seasons was the I Musici recording on Philips (the original mono one, with Felix Ayo), which I see came out in September 1956. By then, however, there were already four other LP versions (Munchinger, Virtuosi di Roma, Reinhardt and Giulini).
Originally Posted by doversoul
The first UK issue, Munchinger on Decca, was reviewed in The Gramophone in October 1951 -
'There have been previous recordings of The Four Seasons (on Cetra and on Concert Hall) ...'
So Vivaldi was not entirely unknown at that time. WERM (1952) has two whole pages of Vivaldi recordings (at a quick count 53 works) though the majority of these, of course, were on 78s. To pick other composers at random from that work, Bruckner, Mahler and Walton each had less than a page, and Albinoni doesn't appear at all.
Vivaldi's flowering was certainly in the early days of the LP. By the very first Gramophone Long Playing Catalogue (June 1953) there are twenty works listed (only the Munchinger and Reinhardt Seasons by then). Then the flood gates started to open, with the Seasons leading by a mile. In the December 1956 Catalogue there are some 44 works (two of these being sets of twelve and one a set of six concerti) with the Seasons having seven recordings. The rest we know.