Quarter Paper: Antonio Vivaldi and the music of his time



Throughout history there have been many distinct periods of
time. These various eras are all alike in a way because they all
slowly flow into each other. One of these unique times was called
the Baroque period. The Baroque time began during the 1600's and
ended early during the early 1700's. The way Baroque music was
looked at was varied depending on where you looked at it from. In
Italy, it was largely energetic and spectacular. Yet, if you were
to travel North, you would encounter the "gloom's of muted
firelight." This, along with the "shadowy pales of another
world," simply means that this music wasn't greatly appreciated
in Southern Italy, as it was more towards the North. The people
of the North were not as affectionate towards this type of music.
Although, the more time that had passed in the 1600's, the more
popular the baroque music became. It was greatly adored by the
listeners. The beauty that this type of music contained was
extremely astonishing. Also the drama in this type of music and
theatre was what made this time stand out from the rest.
The actual term "baroque" is extracted from "baroco" which
is a name used by medieval philosophers to identify a reasoning
that writers of the 16th century found absurd and pointless. On
the contrary, Baroque music is far from being absurd or
pointless. The word "baroque" is derived from that or from the
word "barrochio" that is an Italian word used since the middle
ages to indicate shifty or tricky procedures. Wherever it's
beginnings, the word "baroque" had been used since the 18th
century to indicate paintings, poems, architecture, literature,
and all else that is dynamic, dramatic, and to some eyes,
astonishing and incredibly even ugly. This really comes
to a surprise to me because I've listened to baroque music like
Antonio Vivaldi and Johann Sebastian Bach and none of the music
struck me as being "ugly." The first word that came to mind when
I was listening was "relaxing." Like all other music, there are
some people that think higher of it then others. Sir Francis
Bacon said, "^+I cannot but be raised to this persuasion, that
this third period of time will far surpass that of the
Grecian and Roman learning^+" After reading this quotation you
can clearly see that Sir Francis Bacon thinks the Baroque time is
far superior to the Grecian and Roman periods. The basis of his
opinion probably rests on the fact that he has seen artwork, or
heard music from the other two times he had compared to the
Baroque period (the Grecian and the Roman.)
The Baroque time itself was filled with musical geniuses.
People like Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Philip Telemann, Johann
Pachelbel, Franz Josef Haydn, and Georg Frideric Handel. All of
these people, were amazing when holding an instrument, sitting at
a piano, or writing on manuscript paper, but the finished
products (whatever they might be) were and always will be superb.
Among these people, was Antonio Vivaldi. Antonio Vivaldi was
born on March 4, 1678, and on May 6, 1678 he was baptized by a
mid-wife, because she was afraid he might die. This woman's name
was Madama Margarita. Antonio Vivaldi's mother Camilla, the
daughter of a Venetian tailor Camillo Calicchio, marries
Gianbattista Vivaldi on August 6, 1677. Due to the stato libero,
Antonio was presumably born prematurely, and declared to be free
from any impediment from matrimony, also because he was not
baptized in church until two months after his birth. Antonio
Vivaldi, being a sickly child from the very start was ill,
and in fear of his death before being baptized, Madama Margarita
had had him baptized.
The people, who studied and researched Antonio Vivaldi, in
trying to trace back his family history, could not trace back any
farther than his paternal grandparents, who lived in Brescia.
Their son Giovanni Battista (or Gianbattista) was born in 1665,
and when he was ten, his mother took him to Venice, presumably on
the death of his father. Originally Vivaldi's dad had become a
barber, but he was also an accomplished violinist. Which makes
it easy to understand where Antonio got his musical talent from