Friday, April 25, 2014

True Heroes: V for Violins and...

True heroes are all around us, in our every day lives, but some people stand out. During this A-Z Challenge I hope to share several of my real life heroes, and invite you to share yours in the comments.

ivalidi, Antonio Lucio. Perhaps you've heard me talk a little about my love affair with orchestral music composition. Yeah.

So we all have those who inspire us, right? --Those people whose work is so incredible, it lights or fuels our own fire? Antonio Vivialdi was that for me.

He was a child musician who suffered from asthma. At fifteen he decided he was going to be a priest and obtained that aspiration at 25. But, his true calling was music, and he spent the next thirty years, while working at an orphanage, composing vocal and orchestral works for the children he taught.

I suppose part of what inspires me about him is that his works were written to help orphans whose chances of survival were minimal outside the orphanage unless they could find employment based on their skills.

Vivaldi did eventually rise in popularity with royalty and nobility, but at the end of his life he was buried a pauper. I suppose this is a sign of how fleeting the fame can be.

The first time I heard Vivaldi's four seasons, I couldn't get it out of my head. I was in love. I'd always adored violins, but this cemented my love. I knew I'd never be that talented in composing for strings, but he made me want to try.





Five more days to get MOONLESS at $1.99.

Jane Eyre meets Supernatural

An excerpt: 

The study door stood closed. Alexia neared, shaking. Pressing cautiously against it, she expected the mahogany to burn her.
Father’s voice boomed through the wood. “No! And that is final!”
The barrier lurched. She leapt back as it swung open.
He halted before her. Boots, not stylish, but entirely practical and worn; breeches, a sturdy gray, modestly hugging a trim form; waist coat concealed by a subtly weathered coat; shirt, fitted and simple . . . 
Her jaw fell.
Ginger locks framed his clean-shaven face with a straight nose, high cheekbones, expressive brows and enigmatic blue eyes. He was a perfect paramour of twenty years, except for a jagged white scar cutting from below one eye down his cheek. A sheen of beauty hung over his whole being. He verily glowed.
Like Bellezza. Like herself!
She gasped. Sweet pollen and rustic oak tickled her nose, transporting her to a grove of wooded mystery so deep mankind would never comprehend the fullness. Those consuming eyes met hers and flickers of heat burst in her cheeks, spreading across the back of her neck. His pupils widened, nearly eclipsing the night sky. She wanted to reach out and touch him, to fall into the blackness of his gaze.
A grunt from the den brought her back to the hall.
He bowed, movements excruciatingly slow, eyes never leaving her face. His lips parted as if he might speak, but with a dark glance toward the room he’d abandoned, his mouth sealed in a grim line. The corners of his eyes crinkled, pain glinting in his hypnotic stare. He nodded and stepped around her.
A breath of fresh-cut tinder and summer blooms pulled her eyelids closed, like the farewell kiss of a faerie nightmare.


Is there any composer or music that really motivates you creatively? Who is your favorite composer/artist? What's you favorite instrument? Do you play?

76 comments:

  1. I have never heard Four Seasons until just now...WOW it's beautiful...

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    1. It definitely is. Spring always lifts me out of the doldrums.

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  2. I don't know much about classical music but I do recognize Vivaldi's Four Seasons - love it! And I liked learning a bit about the man himself.

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  3. Why is it that most of the greats die poor?

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  4. I didn't realize he was poor when he died. It reminded me, for some reason, of the story my husband tells of Elvis. At the time of his death, he was a washed up musician who had mostly become a joke. Then he died--suddenly he was the best thing that ever happened. Same thing happened (in a much smaller way) with Michael Jackson. In fact, if M.Jackson hadn't had all that child molestation stuff hanging over him, it probably would have been a very similar situation.

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    1. It's true. We have a hard time appreciating people until they're gone.

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  5. I adore violins too and always wished I could play. Four Seasons is mind blowing!

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    1. It is. Technique and theory involved... Whew!

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  6. Vivaldi is my go-to stress reliever. :)

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  7. I love hearing the violin. I wish I could play! Thanks for sharing about his life.

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    1. Me too. It's one of my life's aspirations to learn.

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  8. I've listened to Four Seasons but I didn't know anything about Vivaldi himself until just now :) I appreciate the education, and wonder if it will help me appreciate his music more as well.

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    1. I'll never be able to listen to him again without thinking about orphans.

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  9. The Four Seasons are one of my favorite compositions to play. I had not realized Vivaldi had helped kids in an orphanage. How nice!

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    1. I know! It's like icing on the cake, right?

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  10. Four Seasons is amazing. I adore piano music. Wanted to learn piano as a child but could not find a teacher to teach me :(

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    1. :( I would have taught you! Not that I'm the best teacher, but I've been working with my kids.

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  11. Verdi is mine - his music reaches unexplored subterranean depths within me:)

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    1. My favorite vocal performance arias were by Verdi. I'm a huge fan too, but Vivialdi's the one who set my feet on the path.

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  12. Four Seasons is stunningly beautiful. I didn't know about Vivaldi's life - such a shame he died a pauper. :(

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    1. I know. That's always been kind of a sore point for me.

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  13. Hey Crystal,

    Have you missed me? Yeah, I know, who is this guy? Anyway, I've been real busy reading all those folks who have this weird obsession with the alphabet. Hard to believe, I know.

    Antonio Vivialdi, quite the dude with the noble gestures. I like me a bit of Four Seasons, something we seem to get in one day here in lil' ol' England.

    Cheese and thank you, Crystal.

    Gary :)

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    1. Gary! There you are. I had a visit from a pretty famous dog who left me with pawsitive wishes, but I've been missing your excellence amidst all this alphabet fanaticism.

      I'm wishing you a day with just one season: some Florida flavored summer. =)

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  14. Vivaldi, yes, lovely compositions for strings. Born in Venice maybe? I'm partial to Russian and German composers. :)

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    1. Yes indeed. I'm not limiting in my composer love, just had to highlight the guy who made me want to write. Music that is.

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  15. Don't know much about classical music or Vivaldi, except for the name, but I recognise the four seasons. Music that inspires me.. depends on what I'm writing, what I'm in the mood for. It's not usually classical music though.

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    1. I didn't used to be as much a classical fan, but I started listening because you couldn't find as much musical excellence in the other categories. They all have their strengths for sure, but I've come to really enjoy my classics.

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  16. I'm a violinist, so this makes my day! I consider the violin an instrument through which I learned another language. Vivaldi is one of my favorite composers(along with Bach and Torelli). Of the four seasons, Winter is my favorite. :)

    The Immarcescible Word

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    1. Yay! Winter is awesome. I learned bits and pieces of 5 to 8 different languages through vocal performance. It's amazing how music bridges cultures, eh?

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  17. I always wanted to play the violin, but I never got the chance, and now I'm too old to learn an instrument as well as if I'd started as a child. There's something that happens to the memory part of the brain if one starts an instrument past a certain age, where it's no longer as easy to learn it so fluently. For a long time now, I've been interested in the Medieval instrument the vielle, a sort of precursor to the violin, and the late Renaissance instrument the dulcian, a more melancholy bassoon.

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    1. I'm always wanting to get my hands on unique instruments. I just learned about the Kora, and it looks awesome--a mix between a harp and guitar. Beautiful sound, probably very difficult to play.

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  18. I'm not sure money meant much to Vivaldi. Joining the priesthood he had already taken a vow of poverty. It's the art and how it affected others that made him happy.

    From A to Z Challenge blog http://www.richardskeller.com/richie-on-writing

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    1. I hadn't considered that angle, but he was very poor toward the end of his life, to the point of not being able to obtain the medical attention he needed--yet another reason why he passed relatively young. I'm betting he wouldn't have minded a few more pennies toward the end. =)

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  19. I never tire of hearing his music. So glad he wrote his music and left it for us.

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  20. I had no idea he taught at an orphanage, or that he was a priest. My already high respect for this man just soared.

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  21. I love the Four Seasons and I also love Mozart, but I usually can't listen to any of them while I'm writing. I pay too much attention to the music. Right now I listen to ambient music from Anugama when I'm writing.

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    1. I'm right there with you. I get too swept away.

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  22. While familiar with some of his works, I had no idea about his background. Since I have almost no musical ability, I'm always impressed with people who can compose such massive pieces (well, really, who can compose anything!).

    Hope you’re having fun with the A to Z challenge,
    Jocelyn

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    1. I'm of the opinion that anyone given the right tools could compose music. =)

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  23. I didn't know that about Vivaldi. And I too love Four Seasons. So musically descriptive!

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    1. It is! I'm in awe when I listen to the techniques employed.

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  24. Interesting excerpt. Makes me wonder what's going on.

    Please don't tell me you play violin! I might have to hate you. Lol! It's number one on my list of instruments I wish I could play. Given how well I play guitar, I fear there is no hope for my stubby fingers. Vivaldi is simply genius. I LOVE orchestra music. My favorite music ever is symphonic metal. It's the best thing ever. And now I'm rambling.

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    1. No. Piano, voice, and working on guitar. I have the opposite problem--can'tget my fingers to conform to guitar strings. My computer plays the orchestra for me, but I do get to tell it what to play and how.

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  25. Wow! Thanks for the info on Vivaldi. I love the part about him trying to inspire orphans through his music. Wonderful.

    Fondly,
    Elizabeth

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    1. I think so too. I liked him before, but I like him more knowing his history.

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  26. I didn't know that at all about Vivaldi. So beautiful and inspirational. Excellent excerpt! :) Have a great weekend.

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  27. There couldn't be a more perfect "V" than Vivialdi:) I've entirely too many favorite composers to list. My favorite instrument (and the only one I can play) is the piano, followed by the violin. One of my favorite, vivid film scores centered on the violin is "The Red Violin", by Joshua Bell. https://play.spotify.com/album/7zip2DZtdHiRLztAz18JtS

    WriterlySam
    Echoes of Olympus
    A to Z #TeamDamyanti


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    1. Ooh! I'm betting that's an epic soundtrack. Checking it out...

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  28. I've played tons of Vivaldi and he's my favorite Baroque composer, although I do enjoy the Bach Cello Suites for Viola and the Brandenburg Concerti for their viola parts. Vivaldi had a unique style that was most unmannered for Baroque music and it's always fun for a string player who is more accustomed to playing the fiery music of Stravinsky or Richard Strauss to cut loose on some of his sinfonias! He was also a huge influence for the violin virtuoso Niccolo Paganini, who changed the landscape considerably, not just for violinists, but violists, as well! Thanks for the portrayal of one of my nearest and dearest! Mary xoxo

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    1. Mary! You're the one who should have written this post. ;) Love your additional insight.

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  29. My favorite music to listen to is guitar. I keep thinking I should take lessons but haven't done it yet. I already read music from studying piano years ago.

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    1. No time like the present, eh? I say go for it. =)

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  30. Wow, I'd heard the first part of the 'spring' section of Four Seasons but had no idea it was part of such a large piece. It's amazing that someone can take a piece of wood with some strings and be able to create such emotions and feeling!

    Lisa @ Tales from the Love Shaque

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  31. Excellent choice! I love instrumental music and orchestra music can evoke so many feelings. Thanks for sharing this with us. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. I'm totally with you. Crazy awesome emotions.

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  32. 'Four Seasons' is one of my favorite pieces of all time. I'm also partial to 'Appalachian Spring', but my very favorite ever is 'Moonlight Sonata'.

    I also play guitar and violin, but my favorite instrument to play is piano...my favorite to listen to is guitar/banjo/piano - any of the strings, really. :)

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    1. My son learned to play Moonlight Sonata, and he creates variations on it all the time. I didn't know you play violin! Or I did and I forgot. Probably forgot. How cool!

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  33. My high school flute section did a version of Vivaldi. That was fun.

    Favorite composers... Yikes. Mozart's good. So is Beethoven. And Handel. I'm a particular fan of Holst's Suites for Military Band (something else I played in high school). I took all the music theory and music history in college (the stuff the music majors took), so my favorites list is kind of extensive.

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    1. Vivaldi in flutes... Now that would be something to hear.

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  34. Great V spotlight and I love Four Seasons.

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  35. He's one of my favorite composers too, but I didn't know much about his life. Sad that he died a pauper. :-(

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    1. I know! If they had any idea how famous he'd been in 300 years, they totally would have taken care of him. =)

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  36. Absolutely love him. Isn't it a shame that they receive such little recognition for what they do until long after they're gone.

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  37. Vivaldi's Gloria is one of my favourite pieces to sing - it is such a fabulous piece of music. So expressive and exciting.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
    FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

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  38. Beautiful piece, and a noble life too.

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Hit me with your cheese!