Antonio Vivaldi

Music Composer: Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi (Italian, 1678-1741) is a composer of the Baroque period (1600-1760). His best-known composition and one of the most popular pieces in the classical music repertoire is The Four Seasons, Op. 8. It is a set of four violin concertos, each consisting of three movements. Each violin concert portrays one season... read more

 

Mari Samuelsen, violin
Trondheimsoloists
NRK1 Julekonsert i Vang kirke 2011 og 2012

 

Antonio Vivaldi - Summer from four seasons
Guiliano Carmignola

   

Particularity of the Vivaldi Four Seasons

The particularity of The Four Seasons is the program behind the music. The concerto features the annual seasons through imitating nature phenomena like thunderstorms, winds, rain, ice and birds. It is sometimes disbelieved that it was so cold in Italy in the 18th Century that Vivaldi came to know snow and ice. However, research suggests that it was much colder in middle Europe during that time than nowadays, naming the phenomenon Little Ice Age.

Interpretation

The Spring concerto features in its first movement many birds, the murmur of wells, and gentle breezes. The slow second movement portrays a sleeping shepherd with violins imitating the rustling sound of leaves, and in the background the tired barking of a sheepdog. The third movement is a rural dance maybe featuring even the sadness about the loss of innocence.

The Summer concerto features in its first movement extreme heat through halting chords at the beginning, then slight winds and sudden cold winds bringing relieve. The slow second movement portrays again the sleeping shepherd but this time he is sleeping restless with mosquitos and the threat of a thunderstorm bothering him. The third movement is nothing but an immeasurable thunderstorm composed of virtuoso scales and chords.

The Fall concerto features in its first movement a rural drinking song in which the soloist drinks more and more becoming more and more virtuoso until he drunkenly falls asleep. The slow second movement portrays the drinkers that sleep under mild autumn breeze. The third movement is composed of hunting, gunfire, echo, an animal fleeing, getting tired and finally caught under the triumph of the hunters.

The Winter concerto features in its first movement solidifying iciness with the merciless wind displayed by the violin soloist. There are stamping feet and chattering teeth. The second movement features the warmth and coziness near the fire inside the house while the ice rain drums against the windows. The third movement portrays people walking carefully but still falling while an ice-skater is displaying more and more virtuoso capabilities until the ice breaks. The ending is in the house with the icy wind outside.