I think I always kind of under appreciated Vivaldi, until I visited Venice. Vivaldi was born there in 1678, and his music really fits the place. His father taught him to play the violin early on, and gave him a job in his orchestra. He was destined to be a priest though, but after 1704 he couldn’t participate in mass because of his asthma. Instead he started to write music. He became violin player in the girls orphanage Ospedale della pietà in Venice. He led the girls’ choir, singing from behind a screen because of course they were not allowed to sing.
Vivaldi wrote more than five hundred concerti in his remaining years until 1741. Best known is the Four Seasons, but there is also the beautiful Concert for two mandolins. And all in the sunny but sticky atmosphere of the latter days of the Venetian Republic.