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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) set the Gloria text a number of times. A catalogue of his works lists three separate pieces, one of which is now lost. Vivaldi almost certainly composed this Gloria (and the others) for the girls at Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children in Venice in the early 18th century. Rediscovered in late 1920’s, this work has become the most popular of Vivaldi’s vocal works and is part of the standard oratorio repertoire. The text for this piece comes from the ancient Christian hymn Gloria in excelsis Deo. The hymn begins with the angel’s song from Luke 2:14 and is written in the style of psalmi idiotic (private psalms – songs written by individuals in imitation of those found in scripture). It has been sung at Masses since the second century, though its current format and translation into Latin was developed in the fourth century.
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