Vivaldi, Antonio (1678-1741)

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) is an Italian Baroque Era composer and ordained priest who was know as “the red priest” (likely due to his red hair). His prolific musical output, including nearly 500 concertos, over 70 sonatas, and around 50 operas, illustrate the tendency in the Baroque era of constantly composing new works for concerts and events rather than performing existing works.

Vivaldi spent 1703-1714 and 1723-1740 teaching music at the Ospedale della Pieta, a school and rehabilitation center for orphaned and illegitimate girls. Much of his chamber music was likely composed for this and the other three schools where Vivaldi taught. Many works feature unusual combinations of instruments as they were composed for specific students at the time with specific abilities.

Listening – Flute Solos

Concerto in C Major RV 443, Period Instruments

Vivaldi composed several concertos that are played on piccolo today but likely would have been played on a flautino, or small recorder, during Vivaldi’s time. This video features the Concerto in C Major, RV 443 performed on flautino by Anna Fusek.

Video: Concerto in C Major, RV 443 performed on flautino by Anna Fusek

Concerto in C Major RV 443, Modern Instruments

Julius Baker is a legendary American flutist who performed with the Pittsburg Symphony, Columbia Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony and New York Philharmonic. He taught at Julliard School of Music, Curtis School of Music, This video features Julius Baker performing the same Concerto in C Major, RV 443 on modern piccolo. Listen to how different this sounds on modern instruments compared to the period instruments in the previous recording. Also notice the difference in tempo.

Video: Concerto in C Major, RV 443 on piccolo by Julius Baker

Product Cover look inside Concerto for Flautino (Recorder/Flute) and Orchestra in C Major, Op. 44, 11 RV 443 For Flute & Piano Reduction. Composed by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741). Edited by Henrik Wiese and Jan Philip Schulze. Sheet Music. Paperbound. Henle Music Folios. Pages: Score = IV and 14 * Flautino Part = 6. Classical. Softcover. 24 pages. G. Henle #HN689. Published by G. Henle (HL.51480689).

Trio in g minor, RV 103

The Trio in g minor, RV 103, for flute, violin and bassoon is representative of the chamber music Vivaldi would have composed for the girls’ school. The melodic parts could have easily been played by two violins or two flutes, and the bassoon part may have easily been played on cello.

The written manuscript of this work exists – looking at this hand copied music makes one appreciate the clarity of printed music!

Sooyun Kim plays flute on this video of the Trio in g minor, RV 103, from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center chamber music.

Video: Trio in g minor, RV 103 with Sooyun Kim on flute.

“The Goldfinch” Flute Concerto Opus 10 Number 3

One facet of Baroque music is that much of it tells a story or paints a picture in the listener’s mind. This video is Flute Concerto Opus 10 Number 3, titled “The Goldfinch”. You can hear the bird-like quality of the solo flute line. This video is performed by a student ensemble, largely made of girls, so it is reminiscent of Vivaldi’s Ospidale della Pieta.

Video: Flute Concerto Opus 10 Number 3, titled “The Goldfinch”

Product Cover look inside Vivaldi – Flute Concerto No.3 in D major Op.10 ‘Il Cardellino’ RV 428 for Flute, Strings and Cembalo Composed by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741). Arranged by Santino Cara. Baroque. Score and parts. 48 pages. Santino Cara #3416197. Published by Santino Cara (A0.517086).

Bonus Listening – Four Seasons

Perhaps Vivaldi’s most famous work is his set of violin concertos known as the Four Seasons. These pieces have been used in countless movie soundtracks and are familiar to many that hear it.

Vivaldi included sonnets with each concerto. The videos below are are performed by different orchestras and soloists, but they include words from the sonnet at the appropriate moments to fit the music. The full sonnets can be found on

Product Cover look inside The Four Seasons Complete Transcribed for flute and piano by James Galway Flute and Piano Reduction. By James Galway. By Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741). Arranged by James Galway. Woodwind Solo. Classical. Softcover. 88 pages. Published by G. Schirmer (HL.50490353).

Play Vivaldi’s Music


Flute Tunes has a free download of sheet music for a flute trio arrangement of Vivaldi’s Autumn.

Autumn Trio – practice tempo
Autumn – Part 1 only
Product Cover look inside Laudamus te (We Praise Thee) for Two Flutes and Piano Composed by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741). Arranged by Robert K. Webb. Woodwinds – Flute. Alry Publications #FDP007. Published by Alry Publications (AY.FDP007).


Product Cover look inside Sonata No. 6 Composed by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741). Arranged by John G. Mortimer. Score and parts. Duration 8’23. Editions Marc Reift #EMR 57326. Published by Editions Marc Reift (MA.EMR-57326).
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