A Diet of Vivaldi

Of Antonio Vivaldi, Igor Stravinsky once said, “He did not write 400 concertos; he just wrote one and copied it 399 times.” As I listen to my newly purchased CD of Vivaldi cello concerti, I am inclined to agree. Nothing faster than Allegro, mostly Allegro ma non molto, and every concerto sounding like every other concerto Vivaldi ever made. If you’ve listened to enough of his works, you’ll know what I mean.

Not that “Il Preto Rosso” (Vivaldi’s nickname: “The Red Priest”) didn’t compose some amazing masterpieces. (And I refer to far more than just the Four Seasons.) Many of his works, both instrumental and vocal, are too beautiful to have been anything but divinely inspired. But as Jeremy Nicholas puts it, “If one had to subsist on a diet of only Vivaldi, everything would eventually begin to taste the same.”

(I’m being cynical about composers again. Sorry. The truth is, I really love classical music, but I’m far more eloquent in my griping than in my praise.)