As part of Baroque Spring, a month long season of Baroque music and culture, Donald Macleod explores the sacred music of Vivaldi.
For a small city, Venice in the eighteenth century was teeming with churches, convents and oratories. It's estimated that 1 in 20 adult Venetians was a priest or a nun, and that included Vivaldi himself. His two careers, as musician and priest, ran side by side for his whole life (although he applied himself to one with rather more enthusiasm than the other). The result was a collection of glorious music for use in Church, where huge congregations would gather and unable to applaud, would show their appreciation of the music of the Maestro by shuffling their feet and coughing.