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An arrangement for Brass Quintet of Vivaldi’s Largo from Concerto in D Major for Lute, RV. 96; in an easier tessitura than the Pro version in D.
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (March 4, 1678-July 28, 1741), nicknamed il Prete Rosso ("The Red Priest"), was a Baroque composer and Venetian priest, as well as a famous virtuoso violinist, born and raised in the Republic of Venice. The Four Seasons, a series of four violin concerti, is his best-known work and a highly popular Baroque piece. Many of Vivaldi’s compositions reflect a flamboyant, almost playful, exuberance. Most of Vivaldi’s repertoire was rediscovered only in the first half of the 20th century in Turin and Genoa and was published in the second half. Vivaldi’s music is innovative, breaking a consolidated tradition in schemes; he gave brightness to the formal and the rhythmic structure of the concerto, repeatedly looking for harmonic contrasts and innovative melodies and themes. Moreover, Vivaldi was able to compose nonacademic music, particularly meant to be appreciated by the wide public and not only by an intellectual minority. The joyful appearance of his music reveals in this regard a transmissible joy of composing; these are among the causes of the vast popularity of his music. This popularity soon made him famous in other countries such as France which was, at the time, very independent concerning its musical taste.
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.