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Largo from Concerto in D Major for Lute, RV. 96, arranged for Clarinet Choir.
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (4 March 1678-28 July 1741), nicknamed il Prete Rosso ("The Red Priest") because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe. Vivaldi is known mainly for composing instrumental concertos, especially for the violin, as well as sacred choral works and over 40 operas. His best known work is a series of violin concertos known as The Four Seasons.
Many of his compositions were written for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi worked between 1703 and 1740. Vivaldi also had some success with stagings of his operas in Venice, Mantua and Vienna. After meeting the Emperor Charles VI, Vivaldi moved to Vienna hoping for preferment. The Emperor died soon after Vivaldi’s arrival, and the composer died a pauper, without a steady source of income.
Though Vivaldi’s music was well received during his lifetime, it later declined in popularity until its vigorous revival in the first half of the 20th century. Today, Vivaldi ranks among the most popular and widely recorded Baroque composers.
The last representative of Baroque, Vivaldi was a child of Venice. Priest and virtuoso violinist, master of music at the Pietà, a convent for young, orphaned girls, the redheaded composer wrote countless concertos for these young ladies. Acclaimed throughout Europe, he composed quickly, proved his virtuosity with his ensemble of musicians and produced his operas in all the theatres in Venice.
Inventive, skilful and quick, the work Vivaldi left is considerable. He revolutionised the concerto, which he adapted to a variety of instruments: violin, oboe, mandolin… Even today, we continue to discover this priest-musician’s several hundred operas. Despite Bach having transcribed certain of his pieces, Vivaldi died in poverty, quite mysteriously, in Vienna where he lived in exile once Venice had tired of his music.
He fell into oblivion for many years. It was only in the mid 20th century that the lightness and elegance of his contrasting vocal exercises and his seductively repeated rhythms were to be fully appreciated. Far from Bach’s counterpoint or Scarlatti’s inventiveness, Vivaldi preferred the simplicity of the melodic line and evident harmonic sequences. He thus brought Italian Baroque to a close and made way for the classical era.
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Reviews of Largo (from Concerto in D Major for Lute, RV. 96) for Clarinet Choir
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