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World Book 2000 Article

Vivaldi, pronounced vih VAHL dee, Antonio (1678-1741), was an Italian composer.  He was one of the most productive composers in the baroque style, which was marked by regular rhythm and elaborate melody.  

Vivaldi helped develop the baroque concerto, which influenced the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach and the early symphony composers.  Bach admired Vivaldi's concertos and arranged 10 of these works for the harpsichord and the organ.  

Vivaldi was an accomplished violinist and composed his most important works for the violin.  Four violin concertos known as The Four Seasons (1725) are his best-known compositions.  They are an important example of program music--that is, music that tells a story or depicts a landscape.  Vivaldi also composed operas, cantatas, oratorios, and solo and trio sonatas.  His best-known sacred choral work is the Gloria in D Major (1708).  

Vivaldi was born in Venice.  He was ordained a priest in 1703 but devoted his life to music.  In 1703, he became a violin teacher at the Venetian Ospedale della Pieta, a girls' orphanage with an excellent chorus and orchestra.  He composed many of his works for the orphanage musicians, writing concertos for almost every instrument known in Europe at the time.  

Contributor: Joscelyn Godwin, F.R.C.O., Prof. of Music, Colgate Univ.

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