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Thread: Why was Vivaldi so obsessed with concertos?

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    Senior Member Couchie's Avatar
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    Default Why was Vivaldi so obsessed with concertos?

    Vivaldi gave us literally hundreds of concertos. What did he get out of it? Or did he write them as some sort of manic compulsion?
    Doch dieses Wörtlein: und, -wär' es zerstört,
    wie anders als mit Isoldes eignem Leben wär' Tristan der Tod gegeben?

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    Senior Member Livly_Station's Avatar
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    Vivaldi wanted to annoy Stravinsky.

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    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    quite a lot of them are short, some are even 5 minutes long.

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    Senior Member Couchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    quite a lot of them are short, some are even 5 minutes long.
    Some could be shorter. A good deal of them need not to even exist.
    Doch dieses Wörtlein: und, -wär' es zerstört,
    wie anders als mit Isoldes eignem Leben wär' Tristan der Tod gegeben?

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    Senior Member SONNET CLV's Avatar
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    Why was Vivaldi so obsessed with concertos?

    He was prescient.
    He foresaw the future and the development of the Internet Forum, such as Talk Classical. And he wanted to assure that he would become a topic on that Forum, so he began writing concertos, hundreds and hundreds of them, concertos for every instrument imaginable, and even some unimaginable, and even some not yet invented, and even some uninventable, because he knew, he just knew there was somebody out there in future land who would be obsessed with knowing why he was obsessed with concertos and would ask about it on an Internet Forum.

    At least that's my understanding.

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    Senior Member Couchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SONNET CLV View Post
    Why was Vivaldi so obsessed with concertos?

    He was prescient.
    He foresaw the future and the development of the Internet Forum, such as Talk Classical. And he wanted to assure that he would become a topic on that Forum, so he began writing concertos, hundreds and hundreds of them, concertos for every instrument imaginable, and even some unimaginable, and even some not yet invented, and even some uninventable, because he knew, he just knew there was somebody out there in future land who would be obsessed with knowing why he was obsessed with concertos and would ask about it on an Internet Forum.

    At least that's my understanding.
    Vivaldi didn't even have toilet paper. Imagine conceiving something such as the internet in the 17th/18th century.
    Doch dieses Wörtlein: und, -wär' es zerstört,
    wie anders als mit Isoldes eignem Leben wär' Tristan der Tod gegeben?

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    The concerti were written with specific pupils and performances in mind.

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    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    ^ I think that's true (with himself as a potential soloist as well). But he also wrote a lot for the new fashionable tourism market - selling re-treads as mementos - and that makes up the numbers.

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    About 80 of the concerti were also published which made some money, at least for the publisher
    If there are about 500 Vivaldi concerti and the average lasts 10 min. it's around 83 hours of music. Bach's 200+ extant cantatas are more than 60 hours and 50-100 cantatas may have been lost, so we are in the same order of magnitude. Handel wrote around 40 operas which is again about 100 hours or more. Telemann probably wrote more music than Bach and Handel combined... They wrote a lot of music quite fast in that period (and even later, Donizetti wrote ca. 70 operas in ca. 30 years, around 4 operas per year in good years)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Livly_Station View Post
    Vivaldi wanted to annoy Stravinsky.
    I want that on a T-shirt.

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    The concerti were written with specific pupils and performances in mind.

    True -- Vivaldi spent much of his life teaching wayward school girls at a sort of academy. He also wrote music for traveling country musicians, his famed "Alla Rustica" concerto for violin being one such piece.

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    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Telemann wrote 1000 cantatas, Graupner, 1400 cantatas

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    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Couchie View Post
    Some could be shorter. A good deal of them need not to even exist.
    Haven't you said the exact same thing, about Brahms?
    Anyway, I appreciate C.P.E.'s a bit more;


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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by larold View Post
    The concerti were written with specific pupils and performances in mind.

    True -- Vivaldi spent much of his life teaching wayward school girls at a sort of academy. He also wrote music for traveling country musicians, his famed "Alla Rustica" concerto for violin being one such piece.
    Exactly ^ ^ ^. So, addressing the OP: The accompanying parts could be played by the younger or less proficient girls, the solo parts by apt pupils or Vivaldi himself. And, of course, the concerto was the most important orchestral or large instrumental ensemble form of its day. It makes perfect sense when one understands the practical issues of Vivaldi's life as a teacher.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    When a true genius appears on the earth, you may know him by this sign, that all of the dunces are in confederacy against him.
    — Jonathan Swift

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    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Why are so many people obsessed with Vivaldi's numerous concertos?
    “The special mark of the modern world is not that it is sceptical, but that it is dogmatic without knowing it”

    G.K. Chesterton

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