Fux looks far less ﬁt. Years of gout have taken their toll and the
man suffers from pain in every joint, especially in winter-time. His
mood is none the better for it either. Dead tired, the choirmaster
sinks into a chair. He then informs the Vivaldis without digressing
that the emperor will be absent for the next few days. ‘Hunting in
Hungary,’ he adds with distaste; he evidently views such a pastime
as utterly decadent. Antonio looks at his father, his disappointment
evident. ‘We received conﬁrmation of the emperor’s desire to see
me,’ insists the priest. It is by now difﬁcult to hide his humiliation.
‘Well, the emperor has decided otherwise. A not
uncommon occurrence,’ responds Fux, with a hint of displeasure.
‘May I be of any further assistance to you?’ The choirmaster is no
great fan of Vivaldi’s music; he considers it too frivolous.
‘I should like personally to present your monarch with a
copy of my Opus IX and to play for him a number of concerti. When
do you expect His Highness to return?’
Fux sighs loudly and raises his eyes to the ceiling. ‘It is
difﬁcult to say. If I were you, gentlemen, I should not waste my
time waiting for the archduke. Naturally, I shall be more than
happy to take possession of your opus on behalf of Charles VI.
At a sign from his father Antonio reluctantly relinquishes
‘And of course you are extremely welcome to remain here
for another few nights,’ continues the choirmaster. ‘What is your
The sooner he can get out of here the better. ‘Prague!’
snaps Antonio, striding out of the room. Nodding in assent,
Giambattista follows his son.
‘What a joke!’ snorts Antonio back in his room. Paolina
and Anna have been waiting. ‘Let’s have another look at that letter,’
he orders Paolina.
Opening the folder of correspondence, she takes from it
the notepaper sporting the emblem of the Habsburg emperor. The
letter has been composed by a secretary and clearly indicates that
Vivaldi will be welcome at court. Now that he examines it more
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