Concerto After Vivaldi
During his lifetime, Antonio Vivaldi was known as 'il Prete Rosso', the Red Priest, thanks to his youthful ordination and his flaming red hair. The son of a violinist at San Marco in Venice, Vivaldi's musical pedigree was impeccable and an excellent start to his career was coupled with astounding energy and productivity. His vast output of concerti grossi, using soloists in groups, inspired this composition and performers may choose appropriate stage positions for the various groupings of cornets and trombones, spaced around the performance area. The score quotes freely from some of Vivaldi's most popular compositions, including 'Winter' from The Four Seasons, the motet Nisi Dominus, the famous Gloria and the fugue from the Concerto grosso in D minor found in L'Estro Armonico.
However, it is the musical spirit of Vivaldi, a close contemporary of both Handel and Casanova, that inspired this music, which should be played with a mixture of accuracy and abandoned virtuosity. The musical images in this piece have clear associations in the composer's mind with individual Venetian locations, ranging from bustling street scenes to vaulted interiors, and describing the famous journey down the Grand Canal, past the Doge's Palace, to the Ospedale della Pieta where Vivaldi worked for so many years.