By WALTER VALE
From ALL SAINTS', MARGARET STREET .
IN the early eighteenth century Vivaldi was a leading figure in the Italian world of music, and both as violinist and composer, left his mark on a good many generations to come.
For many years ho was in charge of the music at one of the four great schools which gave Venice of that day a pre-eminent place in Europe.
The pupils were all religious novices, and the choir and orchestra in each was composed entirely of girls. Dr. Burney, in one of his letters from Venice, writes of such a school as 'nightingales who poured balm into my wounded ears.' Another historian of the time is even more enthusiastic. He says, the girls sing like angels: they play the violin, the flute, the organ, the hautboy, the violoncello, the bassoon, in short, no instrument is large enough to frighten them.... Nothing can be more delightful than to see a young and pretty novice dressed in white with a bunch of pomegranate flowers behind her ear, conducting an orchestra and beating the time
Even if none of Vivaldi's music had remained, we should have counted it important tor the interest with which the great Bach studied it :
Bach had no time to spare for anything but tne best in music. He transcribed no fewer than sixteen of Vivaldi's violin concertos for clavier, and four for organ; but the greatest evidence of his enthusiasm for the Italian master is his gigantic arrangement of a concerto for four violins, for four harpsichords (or pianofortes), and string orchestra.
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