Photographer's Note

Two boy Violinist at Venice, St.Peter's Basillica.

Venice in Italy is not only about historic Merchants and Gondolas. The city of Venice has a major contribution to the evolution of world music. Venice bred a great many musicians of rare skill, frequently searched for talented performers and composers through diplomatic networks.

Important chapters in the development of instrumental music (for lute and for organ in the sixteenth century, for instrumental ensemble in the seventeenth, and for virtuoso performance in the eighteenth) were written in Venice.

The institution of opera theaters which were first open to a fee-paying public in 1637 followed a long period of private performance before noble audiences of plays with musical numbers. The relationship of these commedie to early opera remain little explored area. Festive church music, often performed before the same select audiences as private concerts of instrumental and vocal music, was what many visitors remembers the longest.

Venice developed a distinctive tradition of church music. There were services with elaborate music at St Mark's Basilica and other buildings in the city. The seminal Venetian composer to emerge from the creative milieu was Claudio Monteverdi (see Vespers 1610).

Others were Andrea Gabrieli and Giovanni Gabrieli, both known for antiphonal compositions of brass music, derived for the acoustics of San Marco Basilica. The Gabrielis established the pinnacle of brass antiphonal effect of double and triple choirs, complete with dynamic markings, and spatial location direction. Brass players to this day remain indebted to the Gabrielis for their contributions to the literature.

The Sacrae Symphoniae (1597) and Canzoni (1608) are among the first published works of music.

While early opera of the late 1590s was put on for private audiences in Florence, opera as a commercial endeavor started in Venice in the 1630s with performances in the new Teatro Tron in the parish of S. Cassiano, the first opera house ever opened to the public. A second theater, the Teatro di SS. Giovanni e Paolo was also opened for opera. Then in 1640 came the Teatro San Moisè and in 1641 the Teatro Novissimo. Crucial to the successful beginnings of opera in Venice was the presence of Claudio Monteverdi whose move to that city from Mantua in 1613 rejuvenated the musical life of Venice. The success of Monteverdi and opera in Venice led directly to the opening of similar theaters elsewhere in Italy. In Naples, for example, the first opera house, the San Bartolomeo Theater was opened in 1621, when the public was invited to hear the "new music from the north"—"musica Veneziana" (Venetian music).

In Venice, the opera season corresponded to the Carnevale—that is, the weeks leading up to Lent. Operatic productions decreased a bit in the late 17th century but picked up as the finances of the music industry in Venice were reorganized, which is to say that the theaters started charging prices that more people could afford!

The social function of the opera and the timing of the opera season in Venice go hand in hand. Carnevale was a time of the year when Venice was an international meeting ground, a time when matters besides music were discussed, even at the opera. Theaters were forums for the rich and powerful to discuss the present and the future of the Venetian Republic in its wars against the Turks, for example.

Historically, the four most important "hospitals" in the Republic of Venice (besides caring for the sick and elderly) were, in fact, orphanages where young children might be taught a useful trade. One of these trades was music; thus, the hospitals developed into true music conservatories of the day. Antonio Vivaldi taught at the Ospedale della Pietà. )

Credits to Wikipedia.

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Additional Photos by Satyakki Bhattacharjee (satyakki) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 94 W: 91 N: 128] (672)
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