The master of Italian Baroque music is indisputably Antonio Vivaldi. Throughout his life, he composed hundreds of works, and is remembered perhaps second only to J.S. Bach, ranking as one of the most popular composers of all time. His oeuvre crosses an extraordinarily wide range, from instrumental compositions of all types to sacred cantatas and operatic works, a vast number of which are presented in this comprehensive box set.
Vivaldi composed a large part of his works while working at the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice, where he was employed as a composer, teacher and violinist. The aim of the foundation was to provide an education and home for orphaned children. Vivaldi remained in the post on and off for over 30 years, and was under obligation to compose a new cantata for every feast day. His reputation, however, grew thanks to his instrumental skills rather than his compositions at first; as a violinist, he was known for his extraordinary cadenzas and virtuosic playing style. He became better known as a composer when Dutch publisher Etienne Roger brought out L’estro armonico in 1711, a hugely popular collection of 12 violin concertos, included on this release in full. J.S. Bach was particularly enthused by the manuscript, and his transcriptions for organ have gained popularity on their own merit – his version is also to be found in this edition, a fascinating point of comparison, and a testament to Vivaldi’s reputation in his lifetime.
During the 1720s and ‘30s, Vivaldi began to travel widely, while still sending compositions to the Pietà in Venice when required: despite being unable to teach, he was clearly still a major asset, as he was asked to send two concertos a month by post, adding up to over 140 in his absence. His operatic works grew vastly in number, and he began working closely with soprano Anna Girò, who was rumoured to be his mistress. Vivaldi died in Vienna, and, incredibly for such a famous and wealthy man, was given a pauper’s burial. His last few months in Vienna had been frustratingly lacking in work, as concert houses were closed to mourn the death of Charles VI; however, his last opera was eventually staged posthumously there in 1742.
Vivaldi was a divisive figure during his lifetime, well known for being vain and conceited. His vanity, though, is certainly deserved; we are left with the overwhelming evidence. More than 50 operas (21 of which survive), 500 concertos and 90 sonatas are no mean feat for a man who by all accounts was also a superb teacher and virtuosic violinist. This release draws attention to the diversity of his oeuvre, starting with his instrumental music and moving on to feature his sacred cantatas and operas. It is the most comprehensive edition of Vivaldi’s music yet, bringing together 66 CDs showcasing hundreds of different performers and ensembles, many of them performing on period instruments as they strive to recreate the sound of the composer’s timbre through their research-led contemporaneous playing styles.
Brilliant Classics is proud to offer a new release to add to its growing collection of authoritative composer editions. This box set is excellent value for money, at only €65 for an astonishing 66 CDs’ worth of music, interpreted by some of Baroque music’s most celebrated artists today. An excellent gift idea for any lover of Baroque, it spans the length of Vivaldi’s illustrious career, and celebrates the best of his innovative and beautiful music.
- 66 CDs brimming with vitality, passion, instrumental brilliance and Italian sunshine, as played by mostly Italian forces (yes, they do know the secret of their “red priest” Antonio Vivaldi..).
- The complete Opus number 1‐12 are newly recorded by L’Arte del’Arco, led by the eminent Federico Guglielmo (with numerous record awards to his name), a new recording of the complete Oboe Concertos, Juditha triumphans by Modo Antiquo/Sardelli, the famous Gloria by the Virtuosi Saxoniae, and new recordings by Early Music specialists Stefano Bagliano, Paolo Pollastri, Lorenzo Cavasanti.
- Contains extensive notes on Vivaldi
- A new, extended, improved and upgraded Vivaldi Edition on Brilliant Classics! A feast of Historically Informed Performances by leading soloists and ensembles, this new Edition offers the best of today’s Vivaldi playing!