Vivaldi: one concerto and 500 variations of it…

they say: “While Beethoven wrote seven concertos, Brahms four and Bach, Haydn, Handel and Mozart at most a few dozen, Vivaldi wrote over 500 (and more are being uncovered each year)! When you’re that prolific, some recycling and lapsing into formula is inevitable.” the funnier version would be that Vivaldi didn’t write hundreds of concerti but only one concerto hundreds of times! i fell in love with Baroque violin virtuoso, Giuliano Carmignola, a few years back; it was astonishing to hear Vivaldi’s over-exposed, over-played (ad nauseam) “Four Seasons” in a different way: the presto of summer has never been this fast combined with some feverish allegro sections.



listen to some of his music, or even better watch the short video clip – he’s amazing; Carmignola has mostly played with the Venice Baroque Orchestra using their period-instruments which makes the performance sound the way that the old Venetian, Vivaldi, would have imagined, composed and conducted it…

unfortunately, the above images are not mine – i tried to catch his southern california concert a couple of years ago but he stood us up! got sick on the plane from Venice or got scared of our governor.

4 thoughts on “Vivaldi: one concerto and 500 variations of it…

  1. You continue to astound me with your wide-range of talents. Vivaldi has been one of my favorites but I didn’t realize how much he had composed. Nor am I aware of Giuliano Carmignola’s interpretration. Beautiful to listen to him. I look forward to being continually made aware or the beauty in our world through your eyes. Love, Ma Soeur

  2. Dear Michele, how right you are discovering Antonio Vivaldi, the Red Priest, the mystery man of the European baroque. I would stress the European feature here. The Venetian later lived and died in Vienna, and was patronized by the Habsburgs, especially Charles the VI. He has two plaques in Vienna, one on the side of the Sacher Hotel, stone throwing distance from the Opera. He was many times rediscovered, lately from the archives of a Piedmont monastery. Some of the works there were first attributed to Galuppi Baldassaro, the hero of Robert Browning’s famous poem dedicated to him. We should not forget his literary connections to the Viennese court poet Metastasio, and to the young Carlo Goldoni, the playwright. Europe meant just this: Gesammkunst avant la letter.
    Michele, you are always on the right track. Antonia Vivaldi, Venice, Mantua, Prague and Vienna are the par excellence European master. Note also the much maligned baroque was not only Catholic monstrosity but also the discovery of the landscape, a certain Arcadia, the one your logo refers to. Et te in Arcadia ego.

    All my love


  3. Michelle:
    Thanks, I needed that soothing break in my morning, I was studying for my written DMV driver’s license exam and really sweating it out. The music calmed my anxiety and . . . I got a perfect score on my test.

  4. Great post Michele. Giuliano Carmignola seems like a passionate person. Great music! Too bad you didn’t catch him for a portrait. I’m sure you would have done a more creative portrait suited for this great artist. We just heard Vivaldi’s Four Seasons last month in a church in Prague and was as always captivated by its beauty and grandeur, especially the summer sequence (specifically the Allegro Non Molto). So, even if Vivaldi’s 500 concertos were all variations of the same theme it’s hard to argue that one can improve much on perfection.

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