March 4th 1678: Vivaldi born

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Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741)

On this day in 1678, the Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice. He was baptised immediately after birth, a very rare event, most likely because he seemed to be in poor health and his mother wanted him baptised in case he died. Vivaldi is often considered one of the greatest Baroque musicians. Perhaps his most famous work is the series of violin concertos ‘The Four Seasons’.

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Monument to Vivaldi in Vienna

His red hair and position as a Catholic priest earned him the nickname ‘il Prete Rosso’ or ‘The Red Priest’. During his lifetime Vivaldi was active in his community, helping in a local orphanage where he supported their music programmes for the children. Antonio Vivaldi died in Vienna in 1741 aged 63, after moving there hoping for employment by Emperor Charles VI. Whilst he died impoverished, his music is now widely considered some of the greatest from his era. ‘Spring’ from his Four Seasons has especially enjoyed popularity, and is arguably his most well known piece beyond usual classical music fans.

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