Sunday, December 13, 2009

Vivaldi: The Painter

Villa Tempietto Barbaro, Maser, Italy. Designed by Andrea Palladio Photo: Stefan Bauer

This morning I've been listening to BBC Radio 3 on line. What a gift. There is a special on Vivaldi this weekend. We all know The Four Seasons, often played a great deal this time of year, but I knew little else about him. I had visited areas where he lived and worked, though, and was fortunate enough to spend time at this amazing villa on a hot summer day, after a lunch with a friend and a lot of chilled Lugana. It didn't detract from the experience at all; the Veronese frescos are still vibrant in my inner eye, and the beauty of the villa (partially still inhabited) is timeless.

If you are interested in spending an hour with Catherine Bott speaking with the wonderful conductor Claudio Scimone (who at 75 says he's much more enthusiastic now than at 25) at his home in Padua, Italy, click here. A lot of illuminations with response to the counter-reformation, universal liberty for all, and how music replaced words that could never be spoken without fear. All interspersed with some wonderful selections from I Solisti Veneti, a group from one of my favorite regions in Italy, that has specialized in showcasing the work of composers from the Veneto for the last 50 years. It will be available for one week.

Vivaldi is a great painter of music. His bright colors remembers the sky of Tiepolo, and his dark colors are the colors of Tintoretto and of Tiziano. Even if these artists were living before Vivaldi, Vivaldi was playing their world. The simplicity of the architecture of Palladio is the simplicity of Vivaldi's shape, and it's also the great weapon for which Vivaldi conquers the whole world.

—Claudio Scimone

If we could use only weapons of beauty and mystery...

Allegory of Wisdom and Strength, c. 1580

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