Composer Study: Antonio Vivaldi
There is an amazing amount of kid-friendly resources related to Antonio Vivaldi. I thought I possessed a basic knowledge of Vivaldi before we began our composer study on him last month, but by the time we got through October, I had learned an incredible amount. Ian enjoyed our time with Vivaldi so much he was reluctant to leave him behind, but since he felt the same way about Beethoven, I know it will pass.
Of course the main part of any composer study is music. We listened to a few pieces on their own, but mostly I just let the boys enjoy the pieces in the background to stories about the composer. Here’s what was on our composer playlist:
- Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery from Classical Kids (This is a fictional story that incorporates many historical details, with lots of beautiful music accompanying the story. Ian requested this at least once a day for the first week, and continued asking for it frequently the rest of the month.)
- The Stories of Vivaldi and Corelli CD from our library (This one was a little dry for the boys, but it had lots of great music. They never asked for it, but neither did they ask to turn it off. It made great background listening while they played.)
- Classics for Kids episodes on Vivaldi
- “It’s Spring!” from Beethoven’s Wig 2: More Sing Along Symphonies
Little Einsteins episodes that have music by Vivaldi (Elijah’s favorite show):
- “Oh Yes, Oh Yes, It’s Springtime!” and “The Incredible Shrinking Adventure” both feature “Spring” from the The Four Seasons
Books and Other Reading
Vivaldi spent several years working with the girls at an orphanage in Venice. This setting has inspired numerous fictional works, both for children and adults. Here are the children’s books we read about Vivaldi and some of the young musicians at the Pieta:
- I, Vivaldi by Janice Shefelman (a biography that tells his story from birth through his time at the Pieta)
- The Orphan Singer by Emily Arnold McCully
- Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra by Stephen Costanza
- Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by Anna Harwell Celenza
And for grown-ups:
I had so much fun this month doing my own study! I read several novels about girls at the Pieta or just set in Venice around Vivaldi’s time. A few years ago the BBC produced a documentary called Vivaldi and the Women of the Pieta featuring a choir of all female voices (including the basses!), which I really enjoyed watching (preview first being watching with older kids–some sensitive content). I also discovered a wonderful resource on our library’s website: documentaries you can watch online free just by entering your library card number! I enjoyed watching two on Vivaldi and one on Venice (though I couldn’t find them on Amazon). See if your library has videos available from Films On Demand.
As we entered into Vivaldi’s world through these books we wanted to find out more about the fascinating city of Venice. So we “rowed” Papa Piccolo which is about a cat who lives in Venice. I listed some of the movies and books we watched about the city in this post. I think Venice will forever be in Ian’s mind, and I hope someday he’ll get a chance to visit Vivaldi’s city himself!