761. Vivaldi was priest, but a priest of a very unusual sort. In Venice at that time there were ambitious artists, composers and musicians who knew that their only possible patron was the Roman Catholic Church, so they took their vows and became priests in clothing and name only. These priests often became wealthy and successful, lived like lords and enjoyed the best food and wine. When it came to the fair sex they indulged themselves to the full. One such priest was Antonio Vivaldi.
762. Since he was an employee of the church he was given the assignment of composing music for a girls choir, a choir consisting of the occupants of the Conservatorio dell'Ospedale della Pieta orphanage. If you listen to the compositions Vivaldi wrote for this girl's choir you realized that he must have composed them with a feeling of frustration because he was already a famous composer.
763. But here he was, since he was also a priest, condemned to compose simple scale and arpeggio exercises for young girls, music of no consequence to anyone. Added to that, since they were all young girls, and Vivaldi was very similar to myself, (here the music tutor tapped himself on the chest), those girls started to torment Antonio in that special way music teachers are always tormented.
764. "They put oil into his flute, they put lard on the pegs of his violin, they touched the strings of the harpsichord when he tried to tune it, in short they did all the things you girls have been doing to me all these weeks." Now the music tutor stopped speaking and gave his students a look. It was certainly a shock and a surprise to discover he knew all along what they had been doing, but then he continued.