Montgomery Philharmonic 2017 - 18

Our 12th Season : Old Friends … New Friends

Monday, January 29, 2018 @ Montgomery Village Middle School (7:00 PM)
The Montgomery Philharmonic with the Montgomery Village Middle School Bands & Orchestras

Winners of Rappaport Competition – Joey Hsieh, Aaron Ortega-Martell, and Allen Yoo

About Antonio Vivaldi –
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born on March 4, 1678 in Venice, then the capital of the Republic of Venice. He was baptized immediately after his birth at home by the midwife, which led to the belief that his life was somehow in danger. Although the reasons for the immediate baptism are not known for certain, most likely it was done due to either Vivaldi’s poor health or to an earthquake that shook the city that day. In the trauma of the earthquake, his mother may have dedicated him to the priesthood. Vivaldi’s official church baptism took place two months later.

In September 1703, at the age of only 25, Vivaldi became maestro di violino (master of violin) at an orphanage called the Pio Ospedale della Pietà Pio (Devout Hospital of Mercy) in Venice. Over the next 30 years, he composed most of his major works while working there. His relationship with the board of directors of the Ospedale was often strained, however. Every year the board had to vote on whether to keep a teacher. The vote on Vivaldi was seldom unanimous and went 7 to 6 against him in 1709. After a year as a freelance musician, he was called back by the Ospedale with a unanimous vote in 1711; clearly, during his year’s absence, the board had realized the importance of his role. He became responsible for all of the musical activity of the institution when he was promoted to maestro de' concerti (music director) in 1716.

It is also likely that Vivaldi went to Vienna to stage operas, especially as he took up residence near the Kärntnertortheater. Shortly after his arrival in Vienna, Charles VI died, which left the composer without any royal protection or a steady source of income. Soon afterwards, Vivaldi became impoverished and died of “internal infection” during the night of July 27–28, 1741, at the age of 63, in a house owned by the widow of a Viennese saddlemaker. On July 28, Vivaldi was buried in a simple grave in a burial ground that was owned by the public hospital fund. His funeral took place at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Contrary to popular legend, the young Joseph Haydn had nothing to do with his burial, since no music was performed on that occasion. The cost of his funeral with a “Kleingeläut” was 19 Gulden 45 Kreuzer, which was rather expensive for the lowest class of peal of bells.

Concerto for Cello and Strings in D Major, RV 403 – Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741)
All together, the great Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi left 27 concerti for celli, strings, and basso continuo. His concerti established dramatic conflict in instrumental works, anticipating, in a sense, the narrative sonata-allegro form. Vivaldi’s programmatic concertos, in particular, such as his most famous work, The Four Seasons, bring the drama of miniature operas to purely instrumental music. The Concerto for Cello and Strings in D Major, RV 403 is no different. It struts onto the stage with almost cocky assurance that requires a crisp performance of the first movement by cellists and ensemble, but Vivaldi moderates this assertiveness in the slow movement, piquantly accompanied by pizzicato strings; the concerto concludes with almost tongue-in-cheek impertinence required by all.  It has a majestic quality, yet it doesn’t seem aloof.

Instrumentation –solo cello, violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, double bass