A few years back, one of the sole Classical music radio stations in Boston, WCRB, ran a Listeners Poll to determine the FAVORITE (or BEST, my memory is hazy) CLASSICAL COMPOSER of all time. The listeners chose Vivaldi overwhelmingly, subjecting the rest of us to 24 hours of ascending and descending rolling strings.
Why Vivaldi? I surmised later that, due to the acute concentration of colleges in Boston, the listeners, good little indoctrinaires that they were, were merely parroting the opinions of the various college “professors” who taught the required Music Appreciation class. Vivaldi, from what I can recall from this “Required Elective”, figures predominantly. One can go mentally baroque listening to those whiny strings...
Why Vivaldi? I surmised later that, due to the acute concentration of colleges in Boston, the listeners, good little indoctrinaires that they were, were merely parroting the opinions of the various college professors who taught the required Music Appreciation class.
Hmmm. I took a "Music Before 1750" course at MIT in the 1950s. It was not a required course. I just checked the textbook we used. There were 50 Baroque pieces discussed in the book -- not a one by Vivaldi. I think Vivaldi was just being rediscovered when the textbook was written in 1951. I found Vivaldi outside of the course. The more I became familiar with Vivaldi, the less I was interested in Bach. My classical pianist wife loves to play Bach. But most of Bach's pieces don't do much for me.
I can't imagine Bach doing a piece like this: Antonio Vivaldi - Dorilla in Tempe (RV 709) - Aria; Ret [or Rete] lacci: Link 1
Or this. There is another wonderful piece in Dorilla in Tempe to which I cannot find a YouTube link. It is Act II, Scene 12, a rollicking piece about a hunt. You can hear the start of it here: Link 2
Here is Dorilla in Tempe's vocal rendition of part of the Four Seasons: Link 3
Vivaldi’s was/is very good; Bach’s music was/is sublime. So no contest.