It’s time to delve further into the world of violin on this weeks Classical in Conversation blog. Violin virtuoso Vivaldi is widely regarded one of the greatest baroque composers ever!

Virtuoso Violinist Vivaldi!

It’s true that Vivaldi’s influence spread like wildfire throughout Europe. He even played a key role in the development of Johann Sebastian Bach’s instrumental music, the grandfather of the western classical music tradition.

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Vivaldi’s story actually begins pretty early on in his life. His father was a professional violin player, and so began to teach him from a young age. He even took him along on tour and they would perform together! Definitely a cool Dad. Despite Vivaldi’s problematic health, it never deterred him from joining in with musical adventures as much as he could, though it did mean he was closed off from the possibility of learning a wind instrument as his issues were to do with his breathing. It is thought that if he were alive today, he’d probably be diagnosed with asthma!

Being such a fantastic violinist himself, it’s seems natural that he wrote so many pieces for the instrument (as well as over 50 operas, yikes!). He composed many whilst he held the position of Master of Violin at an orphanage called Ospedale della Pietà. There was an all-female music ensemble there who he would write music for.

Drunken Dancers

Let it be known that Vivaldi is the earliest example we have of a program music writer, that is, music designed around a narrative or story. The Four Seasons gives musical expression to each season of the year, with incredibly evocative images of all manner of things; flowing creeks, singing birds, buzzing flies, a storm and even some drunken dancers! You name it, and Mr Vivaldi could portray that through his music, which is a great talent.

Alongside the pieces, he also released sonnets that explained what was going on in each season, and the images and spirit that he was trying to conjure up in the minds of his listeners. It’s safe to say that Vivaldi was capable of painting a truly beautiful picture through his work.

We love Vivaldi so much that it was essential that he featured in the RSL Classical Violin syllabus. In 1716, Vivaldi wrote a set of sonatas, the second of which you can find the Grade 4 syllabus. We’ve taken the first movement called “Preludio”, and the third movement, “Gavotta”, too.

We hope you enjoy dipping into these fantastic pieces in your violin journey. We certainly can’t wait to hear these pieces come to life in front of us!

If you’d like to learn more about the violin and the RSL Classical Violin syllabus, then do check out some other content we’ve created to keep you entertained, including our piece about Black Violin, Top 10 Violin Composers, and our Violin Care Guide too!