22 Sep Celebrating Fall With Vivaldi
Happy first day of autumn!
For us, autumn makes us think of the smells of baked pumpkin and warm apple cider and the sights of dark nights and wind blowing through trees.
But what does fall sound like?
We think, however, that autumn belongs to Antonio Vivaldi, the Italian baroque composer who penned the wildly successful “The Four Seasons.” The violin concertos are so deeply embedded in modern culture that all of us are familiar with the song even if we don’t regularly listen to classical music.
To celebrate the first day of fall, we are shedding some light into the Autumn portion of “The Four Seasons.” Next time you’re listening to this music consider these interesting facts:
1. Vivaldi published “The Four Seasons” in 1725.
2. “The Four Seasons” title was not the original name. Instead is was simply referred to as “Op. 8” and belonged to a larger set of 12 concertos known in English as “The Contest Between Harmony and Invention.”
3. It was immediately disliked by the public who thought it was too modern and gimmicky.
4. A sonnet — most likely penned by Vivaldi — accompanies each concerto, to help listeners understand the meaning of the music. The autumn sonnet begins with peasants celebrating a bountiful harvest. The celebration then turns into drunkenness and a long slumber. The final stanza centers on wild animals unsuccessfully evading hunters. You can read the full text of the sonnet here.
5. Each season follows the same pattern: fast-slow-fast. Or, in more musical terms allegro-adagio molto-allegro.
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