MCO’s Vivaldi’s Four Seasons can be heard on Thursday 29 July 7:30pm & Sunday 1 August 2:30pm at Melbourne Recital Centre; and 29 July 7:30pm streamed live on Melbourne Digital Concert Hall.

 

 
Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741)
The Four Seasons
 
Concerto in E major Op. 8 No. 1 RV 269, La primavera (Spring)
I. Allegro
II. Largo e pianissimo sempre
III. Allegro pastorale
 
Concerto in G minor Op. 8 No. 2 RV 315, L’estate (Summer)
I. Allegro non molto
II. Adagio e piano – Presto e forte
III. Presto
 
Concerto in F major Op. 8 No. 3 RV 293, L’autunno (Autumn)
I. Allegro
II. Adagio molto
III. Allegro
 
Concerto in F minor Op. 8 No. 4 RV 297, L’inverno (Winter)
I. Allegro non molto
II. Largo
III. Allegro
 
Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741) is regarded as one of the most original and influential Italian composers of his generation. His contributions to musical style, violin technique and the art of orchestration were substantial. Although not an inventor of musical forms, he creatively adapted, refined and expanded them. His output was prodigious, and he wrote across a range of genres including masses, vespers, motets, cantatas, oratorios and operas. His instrumental works include solo sonatas, trio sonatas, sinfonia and concerti. He wrote approximately 500 concerti with about 350 for solo instrument and strings, including violin, viola d’amore, cello, oboe, flute, bassoon, mandolin and recorder. The concerti generally follow the three movement plan of fast-slow-fast. It is within this form that we start to see the development of the role of the soloist – particularly in the first movement.
 
Vivaldi’s most popular Four Seasons (Le quattro Stagioni) is the first four of twelve concerti for solo violin, strings and continuo composed in 1723 and published in 1725 as Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione (The Contest between Harmony and Invention) Op. 8. Each concerto includes evocative characteristics of the particular season it represents. All four are in three movements (fast, slow, fast).
 
© David Forrest 2021

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