Friday, 4 April 2008

88. Antonio Vivaldi - Four Seasons (1725)


Title: Le Quattro Stagioni
Performer: Concerto Italiano
Director: Rinaldo Alessandrini
Year: 2002
Length: 44 minutes


We all knew this day had to come sooner of later... one of the most popular and overused pieces of music ever, the Four Seasons by Vivaldi... and here they are. Thankfully you lose the most famous of them right after the first movement and you move on to the rest of the set.

This is an amazing piece of composing, it is actually Programme Music at its best, each of the concertos is accompanied by a sonnet, probably written by Vivaldi himself which describe the feelings evoked by each movement, and it does a pretty job at it.

The recording is amazing, trying to breathe fresh live into an overused piece of music, and manages that very successfully. It is a particularly aggressive recording, the storm in summer almost kills you with the violence of it, and the quiet movements are quiet to the point of hard to hear at times, demanding your constant attention, and this only creates a sharper and more interesting contrast, making you listen to this with fresh ears. If you have only one recording of the Four Seasons, get this one, you'll get plenty of the other ones on commercials and films.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The concertos were first published in 1725 as part of a set of twelve, Vivaldi's Op. 8, entitled Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione (The Contest of Harmony and Invention). The first four concertos were designated Le quattro stagioni, each being named after a season. Each one is in three movements, with a slow movement between two faster ones. At the time of writing the Four Seasons, the modern solo form of the concerto had not yet been defined (typically a solo instrument and accompanying orchestra). Vivaldi's original arrangement for solo violin with string quartet and basso continuo helped to define the form. In modern times, others have made transcriptions and arrangements to be performed on different instrumentation.

Summer movements 2 and 3 by Concerto Italiano:

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