from her instrument, but a translation, no more or less than that.
All things pass, including the triumphs of life. Tales are
reaching Antonio’s ears of other spells being cast over Venice; how the
public is being charmed by music from a generation of contemporary
composers such as Vinci, Porpora and Johann Adolf Hasse.
A new style and fresh sound, that begins to carry audiences
along with it. Should Vivaldi go with the ﬂow, or hold to his own
direction? Given the positive outcome of the previous season, he
decides on the latter course. Yet deep in his heart he knows
perfectly well how capricious the public can be. Stupid people! Not
one of them with a thought of their own in their head. It only takes
ten loudmouths to shout ‘This is great stuff’ for the whole mob to
traipse along behind like a ﬂock of sheep. And back he comes to
his old dilemma. Compose for the people or write works only for
those capable of truly appreciating them?
About a year goes by, and Antonio is again confronted with death.
On the night of the sixth of May Mamma Camilla peacefully
breathes her last. She has kept to her bed for the past few months,
tired out. Gradually her appetite has diminished and she has
withdrawn into herself, as if ﬁnished with this world. Each day she
has removed herself a tiny bit further from the family, and every
member has sensed her unsaid farewell. Weeks ago she decided
that she no longer wanted to see her grandchildren, Pietro and
Daniele. She desires the two teenagers, sons of her daughter Cecilia
Maria, to remember her as their kind and cheerful nonna. Camilla
is conscious of the speed of her own decline. Her mind is still clear
but she has no more physical strength for life. Antonio hates to see
his mother like this, cannot bear to hear her speak to him as if
already from the other side of the grave. He has to take good care
of himself, she says, but would he please also keep an eye on his
father? The poor man will ﬁnd it difﬁcult enough without her.
Antonio feels all will be well. His father is good at looking after
himself and of course he, Antonio, will care for him too.
Does he understand that Camilla still sees in him the tiny,
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