A Capella Performance of Four Seasons by Vivaldi

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A cappella is a type of vocal music that does not have an accompaniment. However, this was not always the case. Its origins date back to 16th-century, when the term was used to describe compositions that were reminiscent of chapel or church music. In these cases, multiple vocal performers were accompanied by the same instruments, playing the same notes. A cappella was first used in its current meaning only in the 19th century.

Many pieces of classical music that started out as instrumentals have been given vocal treatment. These include pieces by many of the most well-known classical composers such as Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart. There are many professional groups that focus on contemporary music, which are being given the opportunity to shine on TV or in movies.

About the Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, a popular piece of classical music, was written by Vivaldi back in 1725. The original composition was written for solo violin with a string quartet. It has been performed by many ensembles, including this Israeli a capella group.

It’s hard enough to reproduce the sounds of classical music with your voice. But the Carmel A-Cappella team took on the challenge of performing a piece that was difficult for the solo violin. Carmel A-Cappella, a group made up five women hailing from Haifa (Israel), specializes in unaccompanied polyphonic musical music (a-cappella). They have performed at festivals, concerts, concerts, conventions and private events in Israel as well as abroad.

This is an amazing A capella arrangement from the classic Four Seasons:

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi – Life and Legacy (4th March 1678–28th July 1741)

Vivaldi was an Italian baroque composer and virtuoso musician, teacher, and Catholic priest. He was born Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, Venice on March 4, 1678. His influence is widespread throughout Europe.

His most notable accomplishments include many instrumental concertos for violin and other instruments, as well as sacred choir works and over forty operas. The “Four Seasons” series of violin concertos is his most well-known work.

Many of his compositions were composed for the Ospedale della Pieta’s female music ensemble. This home for abandoned children was where Vivaldi (who had been ordained as Catholic priest) was employed from 1703-1715 and 1723-1740.

Vivaldi had also some success staging his operas in Venice Mantua, Vienna and Mantua. Vivaldi, after meeting Emperor Charles VI, moved to Vienna in search of a high-ranking position. The Emperor died shortly after Vivaldi arrived. Vivaldi died in poverty less than a year later on the 28th of July 1741.

Childhood

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was baptized in Venice in 1678, when it was the capital of Republic of Venice. The midwife baptized him at his home immediately after his birth. This led to the belief that his life might be in peril. His immediate baptism was due to either his poor health or, coincidentally due to the earthquake that struck the city that day.

Vivaldi’s mother might have given him the vow of priesthood to ease the trauma. This was a tradition that would often guarantee a good education. Two months later, a church baptism was held at the Church of San Giovanni Battista (in Bragora), in the Castello district. Photo: Below left.

According to the register of San Giovanni, Vivaldi’s parents were Giovanni Battista Vivaldi (born Camilla Calicchio) and Camilla Vivaldi (born December 7, 1899). Vivaldi had five brothers: Cecilia Maria (Margarita Gabriela), Cecilia Maria (Bonaventura Tomaso), Zanetta Anna (Francesco Gaetano).

Giovanni Battista was a barber who became a professional violinist before teaching Antonio how to play the violin at a young age. Vivaldi was introduced to some of the best musicians and composers in Venice through his father. Antonio was already a musician at the age of 24.

Giovanni Battista was the father of the “Sovvegno dei musicisti di Santa Cecilia”, a group of musicians. Giovanni Legrenzi was the president of the Sovvegno, an early baroque composer who also served as the “maestro de cappella” at St Mark’s Basilica. Antonio may have received his first lessons in composition from Legrenzi, who wrote one of his first liturgical works in 1691 at the age 13 Vivaldi may have had a composer father. A Giovanni Battista Rossi composed an opera titled “La Fedelta sfortunata” in 1689. This was the name under which Vivaldi had registered to join Santa Cecilia’s Sovvegno di Santa Cecilia.

Vivaldi was not well. Vivaldi’s symptoms of “strettezza de petto”, or tightness in the chest, were believed to be caused by asthma. He was able to learn how to play the violin and compose music, but it did prevent him from playing wind instruments.

At the age of 15 he started studying to be a priest. He was 25 when he was ordained. The nickname “il Prete Rosso” was given to him, which was a reference to a family tradition for having red hair. He was ill and received a dispensation from attending Mass shortly after his ordination in 1704.

At the Conservatorio dell’Ospedale della Pietà

Vivaldi was “maestro de violino” in September 1703. He was a master of the violin at an orphanage called Pio Ospedale della Pieta, a Devout Hospital of Mercy. Vivaldi is best known as a composer but he was also regarded as an extraordinary technical violinist with an amazing ability to improvise.

LEFT: Commemorative plaque beside the Ospedale della Pieta.

Vivaldi was just twenty-five years old when he began working at the Ospedale della Pieta. He composed the majority of his major works there over the next 30 years. Three other institutions were similar to Venice’s Mendicanti, Incurabili, and Ospedaletto.

They were created to provide shelter and education for children who had been abandoned, orphaned, or whose parents could not afford it. The Republic provided funds to finance them. After learning a trade, the boys had to leave school at fifteen. The Ospedale’s most gifted girls were given a musical education.

The orphans started to be appreciated and valued abroad shortly after Vivaldi was appointed. Vivaldi composed sacred vocal music, cantatas, and concertos for them. These sacred works, which total over 60, include solo motets as well as large-scale choral works that can be performed solo, with double chorus, or orchestra. He was also an instructor of violin and took on the role of teacher of “viola alle’inglese” in 1704. It was a time-consuming and laborious job to be “maestro de coro”, which Vivaldi once held. He was required to write an oratorio and concerto for every feast, and to teach the orphans music theory and how certain instruments work.

His relationship with Ospedale’s board of directors was often fraught. Every year, the board had to vote on whether to retain a teacher. In 1709, Vivaldi’s vote was 7 to 6. After one year as a freelance musician he was recalled to the Ospedale in 1711. It was clear that the board realized the importance of his position during his absence. In 1716, he was made “maestro di’ concerti”, the music director of the institution.

Giuseppe Sala published his first collection (Connor Cassara), in 1705: his Opus 1 collection contains 12 sonatas written for two violins and a basso continuo. It is a collection consisting of twelve sonatas, each one in a traditional style. His Opus 2 was a second collection, 12 sonatas, for violin and basso, published in 1709.

His first collection of concerti for one, two and four violins with string was his real breakthrough as a composer. “L’estro armonico” Opus 3.

It was published in Amsterdam by Estienne Roger in 1711 and dedicated to Grand Prince Ferdinand de Tuscany. Many musicians were sponsored by the prince, including Alessandro Scarlatti (musician) and George Frideric Handel (musician). Vivaldi likely met him in Venice. All over Europe, L’estro Armonico was a huge success. It was then followed by “La stravaganza Opus 4 in 1714, a collection concerti for solo violin or strings that were dedicated to Vettor Dolfin, a Venetian noble.

Vivaldi, his father, and a group of friends travelled to Brescia in February 1711 to set the “Stabat Mater”, RV 621, as part of a religious festival. It is considered to be one of Vivaldi’s early masterpieces, despite it appearing to have been written in haste.

The Pieta paid him two sequins for writing two concerti per month for the orchestra. He also rehearsed with them at least five more times in Venice, despite his frequent travels starting in 1718. According to the Pieta’s records, he was paid for 140 concerti in 1723-1733.

Opera Impresario

LEFT Juditha Triumphans’s first edition

Opera was the most loved form of musical entertainment in Venice during the early eighteenth century. Vivaldi was most successful from opera. There were many theatres competing to attract the public’s attention. Vivaldi began his career as an opera composer sideline. His first opera, “Ottone In Villa” (RV 729), was not performed in Venice but at the Garzerie Theater, Vicenza, in 1713. Vivaldi was appointed impresario at Teatro San Angelo, Venice in the following year. This is where his opera “Orlando Finto Pazzo” (RV727) was performed. It was not popular and the work was replaced by a new work from the previous year.

He presented “Nerone fatto Cesare” in 1715 (RV 724 now lost) with music by seven composers. He was the leader of these composers. It contained eleven arias, and it was a great success. Vivaldi had planned to perform an opera entirely composed by him in the final season of the opera, “Arsilda regina di Ponto”(RV 700), but the statecensor stopped the performance. Arsilda falls for Lisea (a woman pretending to be a woman). Vivaldi convinced the censor to allow the opera in the next year, and it was a huge success.

The Pieta ordered several liturgical works during this time. Two oratorios were the most important. The first, “Moyses Deus Pharaonis”, is now lost. The second, “Juditha Triumphans”, (RV 644) celebrates the victory over the Turks and the capture of Corfu. It was composed in 1716 and is one of his most sacred masterpieces. The Pieta girls performed all eleven parts, including the male and female roles. Many of the arias have solo parts; recorders, oboes and violas-d’amore; this showcased the versatility of the girls.

Also in 1716, Vivaldi wrote and produced two more operas, “L’incoronazione di Dario” (RV 719) and “La costanza trionfante degli amori e degli odi” (RV 706). It was so popular that it was performed again two years later. It was also performed at Prague in 1732. Vivaldi later wrote many operas that were performed throughout Italy in the years following.

His innovative operatic style made him a troubled musician like Benedetto Marello, a magistrate and amateur musician who wrote “Il teatro ala moda”, a pamphlet denouncing Vivaldi and his operas. Although the pamphlet criticizes Vivaldi, it does not mention him directly.

Vivaldi wrote a letter to Marchese Bentivoglio, his patron in 1737, to make reference to his “ninety four operas.” No documentation exists of the remaining operas. Vivaldi may have exaggerated his role as composer and impresario. However, it seems possible that he could have written or managed the production of up to ninety-four operas during a career that spanned nearly twenty-five years. Vivaldi composed many operas during his lifetime, but he did not reach the same fame as Johann Adolph Hasse and Baldassare Galluppi. This is evident in his inability to maintain a production for extended periods of time in any major opera houses.

His most popular operas were “La costanza trionfante”, and “Farnace,” which each received six revivals.

Mantua and the Four Seasons

LEFT: Caricature by P. L. Ghezzi, Rome (1723)

Vivaldi was given a new position in 1717 or 1718 as Maestro di Cappella at the court of Prince Philip of Hesse–Darmstadt, governor to Mantua. Three years later, he moved to Milan and produced many operas, including “Tito Manlio”, (RV 738). He was present in Milan in 1721 with the pastoral drama “La Silvia”, (RV734, 9 arias survived).

The following year, he returned to Milan with the oratorio “L’adorazione delli Tre re magi al buambino Gesu”(RV 645). Also lost. He moved to Rome in 1722, where he introduced the new style of opera to the world. Vivaldi was invited to perform for Benedict XIII, the new pope. Vivaldi was invited to Venice by Benedict XIII in 1725. He produced four operas that year.

Vivaldi composed the “Four Seasons”, four concertos for violin that depict scenes appropriate to each season during this period. Three of the concerti were originally composed, while the first, “Spring”, borrows from a Sinfonia motif in the first act his contemporaneous opera, “Il Giustino”. It is likely that the Mantua countryside was the inspiration for these concertos.

They represented a revolutionary in musical conception. Vivaldi was associated with flowing creeks and singing birds (of various species), barking dogs and buzzing mosquitoes. Storms, drunken dancers and silent nights. Silent nights, hunting parties, both from the hunters’ and prey’s perspectives. Frozen landscapes, ice skating children and warming winter fires were all part of their music.

Each concerto is accompanied by a sonnet. This may have been written by Vivaldi and describes the scenes in the music. These four concertos were published as the first four in a 12-part collection, “Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione”, which was opus 8. It was published in Amsterdam in 1725 by Michel-Charles Le Cene.

Vivaldi met Anna Tessieri Giro, an aspiring singer, while he was in Mantua. She would become his student, his protege and his favourite prima donna. Anna and her older half-sister Paolina became part of Vivaldi’s entourage, and accompanied him on many of his travels. Although there was some speculation regarding the nature of Vivaldi and Giro’s relationship, there is no evidence beyond friendship or professional collaboration.

Later Life and Death

Vivaldi was a star in his field and received many commissions from European royalty and nobility. In 1725, the French ambassador to Venice commissioned the serenata (cantata), “Gloria e Imeneo” RV 687. This was in celebration of Louis XV’s marriage. Another serenata, “La Sena festeggiante”, (RV 694), was composed for the French Embassy in 1725. It was premiered there to celebrate the birth of Louis XV’s royal princesses, Henriette, and Louise Elisabeth.

Vivaldi’s Opus 9 “La Cetra”, which was composed in 1728, was dedicated to Emperor Charles VI. Vivaldi met Emperor Charles VI in 1728 while visiting Trieste to supervise the construction of a new port. Vivaldi was given the title of knight, a medal in gold and an invitation to Vienna. Charles was given a manuscript copy by Vivaldi of La Cetra. It markedly differed from the one published in Opus 9.

LEFT: Frontispiece of “Il Teatro Alla Moda”

Vivaldi was accompanied by his father and travelled to Vienna, Prague, and where his opera “Farnace (RV 7111) was presented. Two of the most important Italian writers of that time collaborated on some of his later operas. Pietro Metastasio was the principal representative of the Arcadian movement, and Vienna’s court poet. He wrote “L’Olimpiade”, and “Catone In Utica”. The young Carlo Goldoni rewrote “La Griselda”, a libretto that Apostolo Zeno had previously written.

Vivaldi, like many other composers of his time, was in financial trouble during his final years. Because of the rapid changes in musical tastes, his compositions weren’t as highly valued in Venice. Vivaldi decided to sell a large number of his manuscripts for a paltry price to fund his move to Vienna. Although it is not clear why Vivaldi left Venice, it is likely that he wanted to become a composer at the imperial court after his successful meeting with Emperor Charles VI.

Vivaldi may have also been in Vienna to perform operas. He lived near the Karntnertortheater. Charles VI, the composer’s father, died shortly after his arrival in Vienna. This left him without royal protection and no steady income. Vivaldi, who was then sixty-three years old, died of an “internal infection” in his home. He was buried on 28 July in a simple burial ground that belonged to the public hospital fund. Vivaldi’s funeral at St. Stephen’s Cathedral was rather sparse. No music was played and there was only one peal of bells.

In an area now part of the Technical Institute, he was buried near Karlskirche. His Vienna home, where he lived, has been demolished and the Hotel Sacher was built on a portion of that site. Both locations have memorial plaques. A Vivaldi “star”, in the Viennese Musicmeile, and a monument at Rooseveltplatz are also placed.

Three portraits of Vivaldi have survived: an engraving and an ink sketch. Francois Morellon-La Cave made the engraving in 1725. It shows Vivaldi holding an sheet of music. Ghezzi created the ink sketch of Vivaldi, a caricature in 1723. It shows Vivaldi’s head, shoulders, and neck in profile. The most exact picture is the oil painting. It can be seen at the Liceo Musicale in Bologna and shows Vivaldi with his red hair underneath his blonde wig.

Style and Influence

Vivaldi was heavily influenced by the dominant Italian forms of the time, particularly Corelli’s music. He was both innovative and experimental, and played a significant role in the development and evolution of Baroque music. His dramatic vision of the soloist’s role was accepted by the Classical concerto.

He made the Concerto more fun and lively, giving the soloist a more prominent role as a virtuoso and expanding the acceptable forms of interplay between solo and orchestral sections.

His concertos are programmatic, which means that they tell a story through music. The Four Seasons, his most well-known work, is an example of this. They contain storms, bird sounds, and other evocative phenomena that help to communicate the various moods of each season. These programmatic notes were written in the appropriate parts of the score to clarify the composer’s intent.

His concertos follow the traditional pattern of three movements, as used by Torelli first: an Allegro and a slow movement in a similar or closely related key. The final Allegro is the last.

Above: Vivaldi learned to deal with Acqua Alta

Although there are a few movements in the older fugal style of music, the texture is more “homophonic” than “contrapuntal”. This is defined by multiple melodies that have equal weight and each one is not considered to be superior.

The form of Vivaldi’s concertos is the same as Torelli’s: ritornellos to the whole orchestra alternate with episodes for soloists. But unlike Torelli’s concertos the ritornellos can be transposed to other keys within a movement. Modulations are limited to the soloist’s episode. He alters or reduces the ritornellos to avoid monotony.

Vivaldi created a tension between solo and tutti that was dramatic, so the soloist became a dominant musical personality against his ensemble. His dramatic vision of the soloist’s role was accepted by the Classical concerto.

Vivaldi’s qualities are concise themes, clarity in form, rhythmic vitality and impelling logic continuity in the flow musical ideas. He is an instrumental thinker and enjoys repeating patterns that have slow harmonic changes. His instrumental thinking is different from Corelli’s lyrical melodies or Torelli’s angular lines.

He was the first composer who gave the slow movement in a concerto the same importance as the two allegros. Johann Sebastian Bach was profoundly influenced by Vivaldi’s concertos, arias (remembered in his St. John Passion and St Matthew Passion, as well as cantatas). Bach transcribbed six Vivaldi concerti for solo keyboard and three for the organ. The concerto for four violins and two violas was based on the RV 580 concerto for basso continuo and four cellos (BWV 1065).

Vivaldi’s concerto group have Opus numbers. Individual works in the group, or standalone works, are identified with RV numbers (after Peter Ryom who cataloged the works).

Posthumous Reputation

Vivaldi was a popular composer during his lifetime. But, his popularity declined after his death. Vivaldi’s published concerti were almost forgotten after the baroque period. Even Vivaldi’s most well-known work, The Four Seasons was not available in its original edition during both the Classical or Romantic periods.

Fritz Kreisler’s Concerto In C in the Style Vivaldi, which he passed on as an original Vivaldi piece, helped Vivaldi regain his reputation in the early 20th century. Marc Pincherle, a French scholar, began an academic study on Vivaldi’s works. The Turin National University Library acquired many Vivaldi manuscripts thanks to the generous sponsorship by Turinese businessmen Roberto Foa, Filippo Giordano, in honor of their sons.

This resulted in a renewed interest for Vivaldi from, among others: Mario Rinaldi and Alfredo Casella as well as Olga Rudge and Desmond Chute. Arturo Toscanini was also involved in this revival. Louis Kaufman was also instrumental in it.

Researchers discovered 14 folios from Vivaldi’s work in a monastery in Piedmont in 1926. They were thought to have been lost during Napoleonic Wars. The descendants of the Grand Duke Durazzo discovered some missing volumes from the numbered set. They had purchased the monastery complex in 18th-century. The volumes included three hundred concertos and nineteen operas as well as more than one hundred vocal-instrumental pieces.

Alfredo Casella was the main reason for the revival of Vivaldi’s unpublished works in 20 century. He organized the Vivaldi Week in 1939. In which Gloria (RV 589), and l’Olimpiade (RV 589) were rediscovered. Vivaldi’s compositions are a huge success since World War II. Vivaldi’s popularity has grown even further with his historically-informed performances on “original instruments”.

Two psalm settings by Vivaldi have been recently rediscovered, one each of Nisi Dominus and Dixit Dominus, both in eight movements. The other is the psalm setting of Nisi Dominus (RV803). Janice Stockigt, an Australian scholar, identified them in 2003 and 2005. Michael Talbot, a Vivaldi scholar, described RV 807 to be “arguably the most important non-operatic Vivaldi work to have come to light since then.”The 1920’s”.

FAQ for A Capella Performance of Four Seasons by Vivaldi

What is the vivaldi’s the seasons chapel?

Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” is a set of four violin concerti, each named after the season in which it is set, and are usually played one after another, but can also be played separately.

How many people are in the vivaldi’s the seasons chapel?

The number of people in the Vivaldi’s The Seasons chapel is not known.

How many parts are there in vivaldi’s the seasons chapel?

There are a total of four movements in this piece and there are no soloists. The first movement is a fast allegro, while the second movement is a slow and solemn adagio. The third movement is an allegro, while the fourth movement is an allegretto.

Who is the conductor in vivaldi’s the seasons chapel?

The conductor for Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” is not a person, but an orchestra.

What is the order in vivaldi’s the seasons chapel?

The order in Vivaldi’s The Seasons is the following:

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall.

What instruments are used in vivaldi’s the seasons chapel?

The Seasons is a set of four violin concertos, accompanied by other instruments, most often including organ. The first three concertos are based on the seasons of spring, summer and autumn; the last is based on winter.

The Seasons features a solo violin playing with an accompaniment of other instruments: an orchestra of strings, oboes and bassoons; an organ; and a harpsichord. The solo violin has been described as “the most beautiful instrument that ever was” by music critic Tim Ashley.

Were there any performance of four seasons song before Vivaldi’s version?

There have been performances of the four seasons before Vivaldi’s version. One example is the 1604 version by Alessandro Marcello and Giovanni Maria Sabino, which was published in Venice.

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