…how many Vivaldi collections you have either; passing this one by would be missing one of the finest of a whole slew that has appeared the last few years. You wouldn’t want to do that, would you?
Among his many famous and beloved concertos, Vivaldi wrote no fewer than twenty-seven for the cello an instrument that at the time was generally consigned to playing basso continuo. With the genuine virtuosi he had available to him at the Ospedale della Pietà, the Prete Rosso played a key role in the emancipation of the cello. On this new CD of Vivaldi concertos, acclaimed cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras is supported by the musicians of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin in a fascinating program that is further enhanced by a selection of highly expressive Sinfonias by Antonio Caldara.
For such an outstanding composer, relatively little is known about Vivaldi's life beyond the fact that he was born and raised in Venice. This is ironic, considering this great Baroque composer's close association in the public's mind with everything Venetian – an association only bettered by Canaletto.
Vivaldi's father was a violinist at St. Mark's, and there are indications that Antonio received his early musical schooling from within the family. He is understood to have trained as a priest, and was ordained in 1703. With this achieved, Vivaldi gave up any pretence to a life of the cloth and instead concentrated on his musical career. The same year he was appointed as maestro di violino by the Ospedale della Pieta, a charitable religious foundation for the education and upbringing of female orphans. His relationship with the Pieta was to last for the rest of his life, a central pivot around which his musical activities could revolve..