Composers

Life and Works of Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born on the 4th of March, 1678 in Venice, which was then the Capital of the Republic of Venice.


At the age of 15 he began his studies to be a priest and and was ordained into priesthood at the age of 25 in (1703). Soon after he was nicknamed il Prete Rosso, which in Italian meant The Red Priest.


At the height of his career, Vivaldi was commissioned by Royalty and the European nobility alike.


The serenata (cantata) Glorie e Imeneo (RV 687) was commissioned to celebrate the wedding of Louis XV. While the serenata, La Sent festeggiante (RV 694) was commissioned to celebrate the birth of the Royal Princesses Henrietta and Louse Elisabeth. Opus 9, La cetra was dedicated to Emperor Charles VI, who awarded him, the title of knight and a gold medal. The Emperor also invited Vivaldi to Vienna. Even though Vivaldi composed an extensive number of pieces, his most popular piece is the Four Seasons.


Like many composers of his day, his later life was one of impoverishment and poverty as the popularity of his compositions dwindled and musical tastes changed. Due to his financial difficulties he decided to sell a large number of his compositions at paltry prices in the hopes of being able to raise the fund to migrate to Vienna.



Life and Works of Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach was born in 1685 into a family of great musicians.


In his family, Bach was the youngest of his eight siblings. Besides learning to play different instruments he also learned music theory from his father.


His childhood was not a very happy one as his mother and father died within eight months of each other leaving him orphaned at the age of 10. At the time of his parents death, Bach moved in with his eldest brother who was a church organist. During his stay with his brother, His brother exposed him to music of Johann Pachelbel, whose music had a great influence on the young Bach.


After graduating from St. Michael's he gained the position of court musician in the chapel of Duke Johann Ernst III at which time his reputation as a keyboardist spread.


Throughout his career Bach has been known to compose a variety of Cantatas, Motets, Liturgical compositions in Latin, Four part chorales, Vocal works, Organ compositions, Lute compositions, Orchestral music, Chamber music, Canons and much more. Some of his most famous work includes the Christmas Oratorio, the Ave Maria, The Well Tempered Clavier, Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, and The Brandenberg Concertos. In 1736 he received the title of "Royal Court Composer" from Augustus III.


From 1742 Bach worked on two large scale compositions and reworked The Art of Fugue, which he was preparing for publication. In the 1740s he also expanded the Mass setting. On the 28th of July, 1750 Bach died from complications relating to the unsuccessful eye surgery.


Life and Works of George Frideric Handel

Born in Germany in 1685, George Frideric Handel was a Baroque composer who spent a bulk of his career in England.


It is said that Handel's father opposed any musical leaning in the young Handel and went as far as to forbid him from playing any musical instrument or from going to any house where a musical instrument could be found.


Throughout his entire career Handel composed 42 operas, 29 oratorios, more than 120 cantatas, trios and duets, numerous arias, chamber music, a large number of ecumenical pieces, odes and serenatas, and 16 organ concerti. Some of his most popular pieces include Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks and Messiah. Zadok the Priest, which was one of Handel's four Coronation Anthems was composed for the coronation of George II in 1727. This piece has been played at every subsequent British coronation, ever since. After Alexander's Feast was well received in 1736, Handel made the transition to English choral work.


In 1750 Handel arranged a performance of the Messiah to benefit the Founding Hospital. This performance was considered to be a great success and was followed by annual concerts. In recognition of his patronage, Handel was made the governor of the Hospital immediately after the initial concert. In his will he also bequeathed a copy of the Messiah to the institution.


Compared to many of his contemporaries of the Baroque era such as Vivaldi, Handel was a rich and famous musician during the latter part of his life.


By 1752 he was completely blind and died in 1759 at his home in Brook Street at the age of 74. He was buried at Westminster Abbey with full state honours.