Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice on March 4th, 1678. He began work with the Ospedale della Pietà right after his ordination in 1703; he taught violin there. During this period he wrote many five-finger-exercise pieces. “Spring” (the first part of Four Seasons) was a firm favorite of French King Louis XV, who would order it to be performed at the most unexpected moments. Vivaldi received various commissions for further compositions from the court of Versailles. Vivaldi died on July 28th, 1741 of “internal fire” (probably the asthmatic bronchitis from which he suffered all his life). In his life, he composed many beautiful pieces such as Opus 3 and Four Seasons.
Specific Movements start at…
- Spring. 0:00
- Summer. 10:31
- Fall. 20:59
- Winter. 32:48
Vivaldi composed Four Seasons in 1723. He wrote it to show the seasons musically. In Spring the flutes are similar to little birds, twittering in the trees. Autumn starts with strings simulating falling leaves. Around 21:45 there are yet more violins that take a beautiful turn as it sounds like the first frost settling on fallen leaves and grass. Winter has violins, violas, and cellos that sound like snow. Around 36:45 in Winter, there is a viola that sounds like an eagle soaring high above or a wolf howling far away.
I picked this piece because I liked the way Vivaldi put together the instruments to sound like animals and events. When I listen to it I can hear the hard work that went into it. It feels like a walk outside. My favorite movement is Summer because it has deep and rich notes and is not annoying as Spring is.