Antonio Vivaldi’s – The Four Seasons
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Surely there will be few lovers of any genre of music who will not recognise and enjoy this composition by one of the great masters of his age. I recall a very active time in my life whilst running my business. It coincided with the advent of Classic FM and its popular music charts aired on a Saturday morning. Nigel Kennedy’s admirable version of the Four Seasons seemed to be forever right up at the top of the charts and why not? This is a happy and pleasing version that must have brought thousands of new listeners to this masterpiece.
The Four Seasons (Italian: Le Quattro stagioni) is a set of four violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. He composed the work in 1725 as part of a set of 12 concerti. The first four concertos were designated Le Quattro stagioni, each named after a seson. Each one of the concertos comprises three movements, typically a slow movement between two faster ones. It was in Mantua where Vivaldi composed concerti depicting his experience of life on the land including the most famous, Four Seasons.
He makes a lot of use of “tone painting” in this composition with, for example the unmistakable sound of the bagpipes in the Danza pastorale in Spring and of course the stabbing “secco” chords in the opening movement of Winter depicting the biting cold. Marvellous. Readers will have their favourite season and my personal choice is Winter.
This is Baroque music at its best and to fully appreciate it I must recommend 4 of the finest artists who each perform their own season to perfection:
Stern, Zukerman, Mintz and Perlman perform with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta.
Available from www.amazon.co.uk
Archive: Classical Music of the Month
March 2011 – Mozart Symphony No 28 in C major, K.200
April 2011 – Ralph Vaughan Williams, The Lark Ascending
May 2011 – Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor
June 2011 – Franz Lehar, Die Lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow)
July 2011 – Rachmaninov, Symphony No. 2 in E minor
August/September 2011 – Krommer Oboe Concerto in F Major op 37 and op 52
October/Nov 2011 – Krommer Oboe Concerto in F Major op 37 and op 52
My Winter Choice 2011- Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy (Chorfantasie) for piano, chorus and orchestra in C minor. Op. 80
March/April 2012 – Written by Dr. Helmut Frehse
May/June 2012 – Beethoven Symphony No 6 in F major “Pastoral”
July/August 2012 – Hummel Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 85
October/November – Chopin – Prelude Op 28 No 15 in D Flat, Sostenuto (Raindrop)