The Four Seasons (Vivaldi)

The Four Seasons (Italian: Le quattro stagioni ) is called the well- known work by Antonio Vivaldi. There are four violin concertos with extra-musical programs; Every concert portrays a season., - Presumably self-written by Vivaldi - Sonnet preceded, by an individual concerts is each consecutive letters in front of each line and at the appropriate points in the score arrange the verbal description of the music.

Vivaldi had already repeatedly experimented with non-musical programs, which are often reflected in his tracks; the exact interpretation of individual points of the score, however, is unusual for him. His experience as a virtuoso violinist allowed him access to particularly effective playing techniques; as an opera composer, he had developed a strong sense of effects - both benefited him here.

As already suggested by the title, especially natural phenomena are imitated - gentle winds, violent storms and thunderstorms are elements that occur in all four concerts. There are also various bird calls and even a dog, more human activities such as hunting, a peasant dance, skating, including tripping and falling down to heavy sleep of a drunkard.

The work dates from 1725 and is available in two print editions, which appeared at the same time apparently more or less in Amsterdam and Paris.

Formation and musical form

Vivaldi published these four concerts in 1725 as part of its collection Op. 8 under the title Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione ( former spelling, today: invenzione, " The risk of Harmony and Invention "). Other concerts in this collection poetic programs, including Concerto No. 5 (La tempesta di mare, " The Storm on the Sea" ), No. 6 ( Il piacere, " pleasure" ) and No. 10 (La caccia " hunting ").

At this time, his concerto form had already standardized to three movements. The appeal of the Four Seasons is in the contradiction of a dramatic, extra-musical program on the one hand and the purely musical requirements of proportion and balance on the other; Vivaldi comes to twelve individual records to very different solutions.

So the first sentences are each on a - built ritornello, arranged with intermediate modulating solo, but also broader tutti passages - recurring at different levels and then often heavily cut. Due to the poetic program, not just the solo sections have a very different character, Vivaldi looked at some concerts also forced the ritornello to vary not only strong, but sometimes to be replaced by all other material in the course of a sentence ( Summer ) or to have it arise only gradually ( Winter ).

The second sentence, normally forms an aria in Vivaldi usually in two parts. The first part modulates to the dominant or the parallel major key, which represents approximately equally long second part is a varied repetition and modulated back. The solo melody is accompanied by a continuous motif in the orchestra, which is also inspired by the sonnet.

The final movement usually wears stylized dance moves, always differs from the first in the time signature (typically three instead of four -stroke ) and brings the ritornello tend to be less stages, for example rondo -like only in the tonic. In general, these sets are held less expensive; Following this trend, paint in the four seasons, the program also less detailed and set rather in its entirety represents a general situation (such as "dance" or " storm ").

A typical dramaturgical feature of Vivaldi's music are the long pedal points on which the harmony seems almost frozen before it suddenly starts to move; such effects can be observed in all concerts again and again, especially in the solo passages.

The individual concerts

La Primavera - The Spring, Op. 8, RV 269

1 c Allegro in E major Largo e pianissimo semper 2 3/4 in C sharp minor 3 Allegro 12/8 E major

The quite well-known theme of the first movement consists of two short sections that are each repeated piano. Then, equal to the first solo not the solo violin in the foreground, but a trio of equal violins, representing more than a latent E- major chord, the confusion of different species of birds chirping very plastic. Between the next two Kurzritornellen an extended tutti passage that illustrates the murmur of springs and gentle winds and modulates into the dominant key, until suddenly a spring storm breaks, with thunder in the whole orchestra and virtuoso flashes of solo violin. In the parallel minor key is a brief resume of violin trio with other bird calls and the second half of the theme; another short solo then leads into the final ritornello.

The two-part slow movement alludes to the Baroque tradition of pastoral poetry and portrays a sleeping shepherd. The accompanying violins paint the leaves and grasses noise; in the background the tired barking of the shepherd dog.

The final rule represents a rural dance; Vivaldi uses exceptionally bagpipe effects and over again and chromaticism in the bass lines - may also be an allusion to the pastoral poetry with their grief over the lost innocence.

L' Estate - Summer, Op. 8, RV 315

Allegro non molto 1 3/8 in G minor 2 c Adagio in G minor Presto 3 3/4 in G minor

The dull, plodding chords of the theme are comprehensible for today's listener, as a representation of extreme heat and build up a tension that suddenly discharges into a virtuosic solo. Here is the cuckoo heard, and later dove and goldfinch. The harmony lying illustrates the endless wait of nature on some cooling. There are felt at once lightweight Zephyr winds; but they are slow in motion until suddenly the icy north wind Boreas breaks loose. Pianissimo now complain again a few bars of Anfangsritornells on the dominant, as if the heat suddenly far away, and again we hear the shepherd of his fate until the cold storm comes back and sweeps away everything.

Contrary to all the Conventions, this set so roughly in the middle ritornello a new one that could hardly have a greater contrast to the original, and finished him with it. This unusual procedure brings a strong dramatic element, because the subject of the all-destroying hurricane, before which nothing is certain now is also attractive for other sets. Thus, the slow movement portrays a very restless sleeper who is plagued by swarms of mosquitoes; every few bars scares him to the impending storm. The fact that the sentence is not in the relative minor, amplifies the feeling of being only a reconciliation, until the storm finally actually breaks loose.

The last sentence is actually only virtuosic scales, arpeggios and repetierte tones together, the clot only in the middle once home to some issues like that but decomposes immediately.

L' Autunno - The Fall, Op. 8, RV 293

1 c Allegro in F major 2 Adagio 3/4 in D minor 3 Allegro 3/8 in F major

The refrain clearly resembles that of the spring, but the simplicity here is almost a caricature - is a rural drinking song in the simplest harmonization. High-spirited, it repeats the solo violin with dangerous double handles until by the chorus again. Meanwhile, more wine flowed, you can jump higher, the more difficult tricks and ideas incoherent. Only the drinking song in different keys and modifications can bring about a balance of order in the action. Finally, the soloist gets a hiccup and then falls asleep just a ( piano e larghetto ). Motivic as harmonious development gradually come to a halt. Perhaps more than reminiscent of the Convention closes the set with the unchanged ritornello.

The slow movement dispenses entirely with the soloists and forms a large-scale, often surprising chord study, from which gradually peels out a dull melody of the first violin - according to program a mild breeze that caresses the powerless drinker in his sleep.

Almost mandatory for a baroque autumn music is the subject of hunting, which now opens the final movement. A stylized triple time with the sound of horns, but also shows Vivaldi Details: We hear gun shots being thrown back by the echo, and to escape the excited attempts of the animal. The animal is weaker and weaker and finally collapses - triumphantly concludes the Hornritornell hunting.

L' Inverno - Winter, Op. 8, RV 297

Allegro non molto 1 c F minor 2 c Largo in E flat major 3 Allegro 3/8 in F minor

With a staccato dissonant seventh chord, the fourth concert begins and immediately produces a characteristic cold- staring, trembling atmosphere. The virtuoso solo violin interrupts with " merciless " wind; only after one-third of the sentence formed in the cold a real ritornello of illustrating loud Vivaldi feet stomping and will also decide the sentence. However, the opening motif of repeated eighth remains constantly present; it is accelerating even to sixteenth and now forms from gnashing of teeth.

The two-piece set means is probably the most accessible and formally most closed of the cycle, it shows the comfort and warmth of the fireplace, while " outside" of the rain pounding on the window ( in the pizzicato of the violins ). The contrast between the world in the house and the inhospitable nature out there could hardly be greater.

In the final sentence a skater circling; other people go cautious and put in the smoothness of the deliberate steps of each other, until suddenly, somebody falls down. The skaters but continues to run and always displays virtuosic figures until the ice finally breaks. Back home, we hear the Scirocco from afar through the closed door, until all of a sudden again breaks out the storm - Scirocco and Boreas unite and sweep everything away.

The sonnet concludes: " So the winter. But what he brings to Joy " - Vivaldi obviously saw no way or no need us closer to these indicated pleasures musically. This could be an indication that the poem was written after the composition.

It is sometimes doubted that it was so cold in 18th-century Italy, that Vivaldi snow could have known. Indeed, it was in Central Europe at that time much colder than it is today; this phenomenon is known as the Little Ice Age.