Review: Vivaldi (First Discovery - Music)

Vivaldi (First Discovery - Music): LadyD Books

  • Product Details
  • Age Range: 7 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 6
  • Series: First Discovery: Music
  • Hardcover: 28 pages
  • Publisher: Moonlight Publishing (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851033238
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851033232

  •   About the Author

    Olivier Baumont is a professional classical musician. He is a regular performer in baroque music festivals around the world. Charlotte Voake is an award-winning illustrator whose titles include Ginger and Hello Twins. The narration is by Michael Cantwell.
  • Amazon Snippet

Antonio Vivaldi's father was a baker and a barber as well as being a violinist by profession. Vivaldi became a priest very young and was nicknamed the red priest because of his red hair. Children who have tried making their own musical instruments or pretended to conduct an orchestra will find that they have much in common with Vivaldi.
  • Antonio Vivaldi
Born: 1678
Died: 1741

Antonio Vivaldi was an Italian composer during the Baroque period. He was born in Venice to a poor family. His father taught him to play violin and he later became a priest. As a priest he was the violin teacher at an orphanage. He wrote over 500 concertos as well as 46 operas, 90 sonatas, choral music and chamber music. His most famous work is The Four Seasons.

  • My Review
The Italian Baroque composer was known as il prete rosse, the red priest, because of his auburn red hair. Vivaldi lived during the baroque period, a time in Europe between 1600 and 1700 when art and architecture were fancy, grand and decorative. Music, too was grand, filled with the rich sounds of flutes and trumpets and violins. Vivaldi's compositions were in the baroque style - elaborate, rhythmic and melodic.

Unlike a symphony where musicians all work together, a concerto is usually designed to show off the talents of one outstanding player. Vivaldi played the violin, wrote music rather quickly, and became a music teacher for a school of girls. He travelled and wrote operas, too. His music made people happy. The Four Seasons is said to be the 'ancestor concerto' which influenced later composers who were inspired by nature. Spring sounds like twittering birds; Summer sounds of unsettled weather; Autumn suggests hunting and Winter ends the concerto with ice and snow. Young musicians will enjoy, not only learning about this wonderful composer, but also interacting with some engaging activities like conducting a choir or making an instrument with wood and wire strings. Warm, earthy illustrations and excellent music make this a must-have for home, school and music library.

5/5 stars! Highly recommend.

  • Childhood
Vivaldi had five siblings. His father was a barber who then became a professional violinist. After he taught Antonio to play violin, the two of them performed all over Venice. Vivaldi suffered from poor health throughout his life. He probably had asthma, but there was no treatment back then.

However, Vivaldi's health did not hold him back and he became a famous violinist and a great Baroque composer. When he was 25, he accepted a job at an orphanage for girls in Venice.

For nearly 40 years Vivaldi supervised the music program at the orphanage. Many of his students became outstanding musicians. Each Sunday the girls performed concerts. These concerts were very popular and featured choirs and large groups of instruments.

Vivaldi wrote most of his famous works there - many for his students to perform. He wrote over 230 violin concertos because the violin was the most popular instrument for the girls to play, but some played flute, oboe, cello, and bassoon. Vivaldi composed concertos for all these instruments.

  • Concerto Gross
Most of Vivaldi's concertos are solo concertos that feature one soloist with an orchestra. Some of his concertos were a different type called a concerto grosso. These feature several soloists playing with an orchestra accompaniment.

  • Venice
During Vivaldi's life Venice was the capital of the Republic of venice, and today venice is part of Italy. Venice is a city in northern Italy that is built on islands. It is famous for its many canals that separate the buildings like streets in other cities. People often travel around Venice in boats called gondolas.

Venice has 180 canals, 200 palaces, and many colorful buildings along the canals. St. Mark's Square (Piazzo San Marco in Italian) is the center of Venice. In warm weather visitors and venetians gather there to eat, talk, shop, and watch the thousands of pigeons. Just around the corner from St. Mark's Square is the building where Vivaldi worked, on a street overlooking the Grand Canal. When the tides are very high, St. Mark's Square often floods because it is the lowest point in Venice.

  • The Four Seasons
Vivaldi's most famous work is Le Quattro Stagioni which means The Four Seasons in English. It is a series of 4 concertos, each with 3 movements. It is one of the most popular baroque pieces and was first published in 1725. There are four poems that go along with the work to describe the seasons of spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Throughout The Four Seasons, Vivaldi musically imitates sounds from nature. For example, in the "Spring" concerto, trills sound like bird calls and tremelos and rapid scales sound like thunder and lightning for a summer storm.

Antonio Vivaldi (First Discovery: Music)

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