Vivaldi: Flute Concerto

August COMPOSER: antonio vivaldi

Vivaldi_Antonio

flute concerto no.2 in G minor “La Notte”, 1729-30

The flute has been a recent attraction for me. Previously I had associated it with fluffy things like dancing, fairies and nymphs, all very Midsummer Nights Dream, but it has such a bigger range than this. I chose La Notte because it is an odd piece, but also an attractive one. It’s full of the unmistakeable Vivaldi violin as well. If Vivaldi has done one thing for me it’s move me away from solely listening to piano pieces. (It didn’t exist in his time, the closest to it was the harpsichord, which you can hear as part of the orchestra in many of his pieces.)

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Vivaldi: Motet in E

August COMPOSER: antonio vivaldi

Vivaldi_Antonio

motet in e, 1735

Vivaldi was an incredibly prolific composer with over 500 concertos alone to his name let alone his operas and other work. I couldn’t really get away without talking about at least one of the hundreds of sacred works he composed. ‘Nulla in mundo pax sincera’, the opening section of Vivaldi’s Motet in E, translates roughly as ‘there is no peace left in the world’ or ‘in this world there is no honest people’. A title which feels as relevant today as ever.

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Vivaldi: Mandolin Concerto

August COMPOSER: antonio vivaldi

Vivaldi_Antonio

mandolin concerto in C, 1725

The mandolin is not an instrument I previously associated with classical music. That’s one of the main reasons I chose this Mandolin Concerto, the other is that  it’s a striking, snappy and emotive piece of music. Vivaldi only wrote 2 works that included a mandolin; this is the only one where it features solo. It was written in a period of great productivity for the composer, the period when he also produced the Four Seasons. It’s one of the most famous mandolin works and its not hard to see why.

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Vivaldi: Four Seasons

August COMPOSER: antonio vivaldi

Vivaldi_Antonio

four seasons 1720-1725

August is one of the coldest months in Melbourne, it’s hard not to long for the lengthening light of warmer days and the pink and yellow buds of spring. So how could I not think of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, where the opening concerti is not only called Spring but is almost embedded with it in our minds. I saw it performed not long ago and was unprepared for how intense and playful it was, and how wonderfully caught up in it I would get. Since I decided to look at Vivaldi I’ve heard parts of this piece everywhere in popular culture. It has to be one of the most widely recognised pieces of classical music, definitely Vivaldi’s most famous.

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Composer of the month: August

The catalogue of classical music is massive. It’s hard to know where to start.  As part of this journey into the classical world I’ve decided to immerse myself in a different composer every month. Each week of that month I’ll look at a popular or interesting piece and the story around it. It’ll be their story and my story.

August’s composer is Antonio Vivaldi, the man who composed one of the most performed and most recognisable classical pieces of music, the now iconic Four Seasons. Vivaldi’s life was a rich and varied; uncovering it was like opening a treasure trove. He was a red-haired ordained priest, a virtuoso violinist, a teacher, conductor and musical director of a school of orphaned girls, as well as being a prolific composer of sacred music, operas and classical pieces. 

Antonio Vivaldi

Vivaldi_Antonio