Vivaldi by Marc Pincherle, Christopher Hatch

By Marc Pincherle, Christopher Hatch

A definitive biography of the nice 18th century Venetian composer of the Baroque.

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Sample text

The deliberations of the administrative council of the Pietà mark his reappearance in 1735 as maestro de’ concerti at the annual salary of one hundred ducats. At that time he again took up his job of supplying instrumental music; on September 6 he was paid forty-four lire for some “sonate di musica,” which could be, in truth, concertos or symphonies, for the terminology of the time was something less than precise. ” Later, in a well-known passage from Goldoni’s Memoirs, we shall see another evidence of his activities in 1735.

Adding to the obscurity of this hierarchy for us are the great numbers of teachers employed, the vagueness of the terminology denominating them (maestro di cappella, maestro di coro, maestro de’ concerti, not to speak 38 VIVALDI of the teachers of instruments, of singing, and of solfège), and a sort of “musical chairs” occurring among the personnel because of trips and illnesses. What is certain is that during the whole of his time with the Pietà, Vivaldi taught the violin, and intermittently, but on a number of occasions, filled the offices of orchestral director and of composer in ordinary.

He was heard at San Marco, where it had been customary at least since 1692 for a virtuoso to perform a violin solo during the Offertory. During Vivaldi’s lifetime innumerable composers, and not Venetians alone, lived in or passed through Venice — Gluck, Pergolesi, Legrenzi, Albinoni, Caldara, Porpora, Antonio Bononcini, Galuppi, Hasse, G. B. Somis, Pisendel, Domenico Alberti, and others. And then there were the singers — Bernacchi, Farinelli, Carestini, Faustina Bordoni-Hasse, Santa Stella (wife of Antonio Lotti), Cuzzoni, Tesi, and Miniati.

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