The music students who inspired Vivaldi and the city where they performed the great composer's works come to life in Corona's adult fiction debut. In 1695, three-year-old Maddalena and her infant sister, Chiaretta, are abandoned on the doorstep of Venice's Pietà foundling hospital. Groomed for the Pietà's renowned music academy, Chiaretta, with her pretty blonde looks and beautiful voice, earns a place as celebrated soloist and marriage to an aristocrat. Dark, quiet Maddalena remains in the shadows until she takes up the violin, and a controversial musician and cleric, Antonio Vivaldi, becomes her teacher. Vivaldi represses his romantic feeling for Maddalena and instead writes concert pieces into which they can both put their hearts. According to Corona, women like the orphaned sisters inspired the fervor and brilliance of Vivaldi's music. Fans of Tracy Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring will welcome another novel about how a masterpiece is created. Corona shines when showing musicians at work, especially through secondary characters both real (opera star Anna Giro) and imagined (violin teacher Silvia the Rat). (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi's Veniceby Laurel Corona
Chiaretta and Maddalena are as different as night and day. The two sisters were abandoned as babies on the steps of the Ospedale della Pietß, Venice's world-famous foundling/strong>
In glittering 18th-century Venice, music and love are prized above all else--and for two sisters coming of age, the city's passions blend in intoxicating ways.
Chiaretta and Maddalena are as different as night and day. The two sisters were abandoned as babies on the steps of the Ospedale della Pietß, Venice's world-famous foundling hospital and musical academy. High-spirited and rebellious, Chiaretta marries into a great aristocratic Venetian family and eventually becomes one of the most powerful women in Venice. Maddalena becomes a violin virtuoso and Antonio Vivaldi's muse. The Four Seasons is a rich, literary imagination of the world of 18th-century Venice and the lives and loves of two extraordinary women.
Laurel Corona's The Four Seasons is a poignant tale of two sisters layered exquisitely over the exotic world of brilliant priest/composer Vivaldi and his 18th century Venice. The result: a vibrant crescendo of hearts and history."Karen Harper, author of The Last Boleyn and The First Princess of Wales"
I've never been to Venice, played a violin, or for that matter carried a tune, but after reading The Four Seasons I feel that I've experienced all three, and through them come to a better understanding of the many forms love takes. Brava, Laurel Corona."Sally Gunning, author of The Widow's War and Bound"
Corona does a magnificent job of showing us the violent contradictions of life in 18th-century Venice, through the eyes of two musically gifted orphan sisters. Their relationships with music and particularly with the complex, enigmatic figure of Antonio Vivaldi are sensitively explored. This novel resists the easy clich and really succeeds in drawing a world that is both panoramic and intimate."Susanne Dunlap, author of Liszt's Kiss"
Music and the dangerous, exquisite world of eighteenth-century Venice form the setting of this poetic, sensual story of two orphaned sisters. The older is a shy, brilliant violinist, the younger a singer who will not be stopped in what she wants in life. One will cling to the chaste, unrequited love of a lifetime while the other will lose herself in the world of masks, lovers, gondolas, canals, and theaters. In all of this, they never lose their devotion to each other. The Four Seasons is a beautifully-written addition to the handful of fascinating novels about women and the arts in this most intriguing of cities."Stephanie Cowell, author of Marrying Mozart
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Meet the Author
Laurel Corona is the author of twenty plus grade-school books and a professor of English at San Diego City College. She was a Charter Fellow at the San Diego Area Writing Project. She has a BA from University of California and an MA from University of Chicago and received her PhD from University of California. She currently lives in San Diego, CA.
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There are so many facets to this story - the bond between the sisters, the descriptions of their cloistered lives, the pictures painted by the words used to describe the music, and the flavor of Venice at the time of Vivaldi. I became engrosed with the story. It carried me along with the rhythm of the music that was always in the background yet an integral part of the story.
I really enjoyed this book! I have always been curious about "The Red Priest" and LOVE Vivaldi's Four Seasons composition; one of my favorites! But the backdrop to the story was the big surprise, the Pieta where the two main characters grow up in a cloistered environment and one is trained on the violin and the other as a singer. Set against the extravagances of Venice and Carnivale, where a master like Vivaldi is forced to travel to earn his keep as a genius composer, and women have little control over their futures, especially if they come from wealthy families. It was so interesting! I was also surprised at the religious thread in the story. The writing is a little slow, but stick with it because the entire story is worth it!
I highly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in the passion that drives people. Whether it is their passion to express themselves in the form of music, or the love they have to share with another which may or may not be consummated as well as the love they share with their sister. Being a sister and understanding the complexities of sisterhood, has only enhanced my reading experience of this book. I found the characters to be compelling and I thought the author brought the music of Venice to life for me.