seen. She knows only a few words of German, and the local Czech
dialect is utterly foreign to her ears. The couple of popular French
novels pushed into her hands by bookshop owners she has already
read. And it is just as difﬁcult to come by some decent paper.
Antonio has been overwhelmed with commissions and the stock of
paper brought with them from Venice was soon exhausted. The
priest wants to draft as much as possible here, both to save on
postage and so that the client can pay in advance! At last, on
Denzio’s recommendation, she has found a retailer selling a
reasonable selection of paper. Antonio will just have to make the
best of it.
By the time they have been there a couple of weeks, Antonio Vivaldi
has passed muster with almost the whole of Prague aristocracy.
Nearly all the same faces turn up in the audience at every
performance, no matter in whose residence a concert takes place.
The priest befriends several of these individuals, and is permitted
after a commission or two to add the title of house-composer to
the growing list after his name. Often, such a distinction is
celebrated with a chuckle and a clink of glasses, for the role of
Maestro di capella is not usually of very great signiﬁcance. The
noblemen enjoy showing off the name Vivaldi as their ‘own’
composer without it costing them too much in reality. Antonio, on
the other hand, has no qualms about brandishing his many titles
whenever they might enhance his reputation. Thus, the priest
grasps the chance, either out of opportunism or revenge, when the
young man destined to become the son-in-law of Emperor Charles
VI agrees, in a bout of drunken hilarity, to ‘appoint’ him his own
Maestro di capella di duca di Lorenza.
Frans III Stefanus, Duke of Lorraine, has lived at court in Vienna
since he was ﬁfteen. With the death of his brother, who was to have
married Maria Theresa, the emperor declared his wish that the
younger take the place of his elder brother. The Duke of Lorraine
has belonged to the Habsburg court ever since, and although it
305-333 Chapter 7.indd 312 22-11-2007 14:11:53