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, andvirtuoso 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 composinginstrumental 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 hiscompositions were written for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi worked from 1703 to 1715 and from 1723 to 1740. Vivaldi also had some successwith 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 thecomposer 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 ofthe 20th century. Today, Vivaldi ranks among the most popular and widely recorded Baroque composers.
Later life and death
During the height of his career, Vivaldi received commissions from Europeannobility and royalty. The wedding cantata Gloria e Imeneo (RV 687) was written for the marriage of Louis XV. Vivaldi's Opus 9, La Cetra, was dedicated to Emperor Charles VI. In 1728, Vivaldi met theemperor while he was visiting Trieste to oversee the construction of a new port. Charles admired the music of the Red Priest so much that he is said to have spoken more with the composer during theirone meeting than he spoke to his ministers in over two years. He gave Vivaldi the title of knight, a gold medal and an invitation to Vienna. Vivaldi gave Charles a manuscript copy of La Cetra, a set...