Red Priest of Venice
Susan Adams guides us through the life and works of one of the world's most celebrated but long-neglected baroque composers: Antonio Vivaldi. Born in 1678 in the Republic of Venice, he had a protégé's childhood, learning the violin from his father (a barber turned violinist), and touring Venice from an early age. At fifteen he began to study for the priesthood, and ten years later he was ordained, becoming il prete rosso (the red priest, so called for his red hair). Vivaldi's life is full of colour: from teaching orphans music lessons to taking part in the vivacious Venetian carnivals. It is also, of course, full of music. He boasted that he could compose a concerto faster than a scribe could copy one, but despite his prolific output the majority of his work had fallen into obscurity by the time of his impoverished death in 1741, only to be rediscovered in the twentieth century.
Susan Adams has written numerous books for children and a biography of St Frideswide, patron saint of Oxford. Her interest in the revival of Baroque music, triggered by her son's career in that field, led her to research Vivaldi's life in the extraordinary Republic of Venice.