The student news site of Ossining High School

The Current

The Maestro’s Corner: More than Four

The Case for Vivaldi

embed:

Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons"

Emma San Martin, Entertainment Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






“Antonio Vivaldi.”  “The Four Seasons.”  These two names have been glued together as irreversibly as “Newton” and “gravity.”   The Four Seasons is by far the most widely known of Vivaldi’s works, even to the point of commonly being used as telephone hold music – a sad fate.   It often seems that The Four Seasons – especially its first movement, the beginning of spring, is the only one of Vivaldi’s works that we ever hear.  The reason for this is somewhat unclear.

The Four Seasons is certainly a masterpiece.  Vivaldi modeled every line in his music after a poem for each season, then published the poems as an accompaniment to the music.  This was one of the earliest instances of so-called “program music,” or orchestral music with a narrative element.  Each season – spring, summer, autumn, and winter – is split into three movements, fast, slow, and fast.  The slower movements bear a delicate, restrained, ethereal air (3:30), while the fast movements are lyrical adventures into Vivaldi’s charmed world of bright water, sleek gondolas, and ornate architecture (17:57).

Still, it’s a pity that we only ever hear The Four Seasons, because there is so much more to Vivaldi.  This composer, a Venetian who lived from 1678 to 1741, wrote more than 500 other concerti that are just as good.  He also wrote around 46 operas, 90 sonatas, and generated an enormous repertoire of sacred chorale music, sinfonias, and chamber music.  The man was a master of the Italian baroque style.  Exquisite melodies combine in sequences of intricate counterpoint, and Vivaldi’s method of progression from one string of melodies to the next lends a haunting air of mystery and romance to many of his works.  Above all, however, Vivaldi is exuberant.  He made many innovations to the classical style with his works, changing the traditional melodic and rhythmic structures of his concerti, playing around with unusual tonal contrasts and even atonality (this is apparent in the audibly chilly first “Winter” movement at 32:48).  Vivaldi’s adventurous attitude towards compositional structure also had a heavy influence on one of his more famous contemporaries, Johann Sebastian Bach, who especially admired Vivaldi’s concerti, transcribed several of them for different instruments, and added many elements reminiscent of Vivaldi to his chorale works.

While The Four Seasons is the embedded video in this piece, below are the links to just a few of Vivaldi’s other works, to provide a taste of his great variety:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0b8iwaG2Mc Flute Concerto in D minor op.10 no.3 (RV428)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6Hvdrf–V0 A collection of Vivaldi’s classic mandolin concerti

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lJkKwleILE  Some of Vivaldi’s sacred chorale music, In Gloria (RV589) “Et in terra pax hominibus”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • The Maestro’s Corner: More than Four

    Archive

    The Maestro’s Corner: A D.J. Favorite

  • The Maestro’s Corner: More than Four

    Archive

    Attraction-Driven Success

  • The Maestro’s Corner: More than Four

    Archive

    The Bronx Force Awakens

  • The Maestro’s Corner: More than Four

    Archive

    The Maestro’s Corner: Bells Under the Ocean

  • The Maestro’s Corner: More than Four

    Archive

    Did The Solar Eclipse Live Up To Its Hype?

  • The Maestro’s Corner: More than Four

    Archive

    Fantasy Invention, with the Ability for the Most Positive Impact

  • The Maestro’s Corner: More than Four

    Archive

    Athlete of the Month: Thomas McBride

  • The Maestro’s Corner: More than Four

    Archive

    The Maestro’s Corner: A D.J. Favorite

  • The Maestro’s Corner: More than Four

    Archive

    Artist of the Month: Cindy Cerqueira

  • The Maestro’s Corner: More than Four

    Archive

    Attraction-Driven Success

The student news site of Ossining High School
The Maestro’s Corner: More than Four