Vivaldi: Four Seasons - 1000 Years of Classical Music, Vol. 9 (CD)

ABC Classics & Jazz
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Elizabeth Wallfisch, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Paul Dyer

‘Here comes the spring, and festively

The birds salute her with a merry song.’

Published in Amsterdam in 1725, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons are early examples of the concerto form: a musical structure designed to show off the virtuosity of the solo instrument, which in this case is the violin.

Concertos typically have three ‘movements’: self-contained sections, each characterised by a particular tempo or mood. The most common pattern for concertos was to begin and end with fast, upbeat movements, and have a slower, more poetic movement in between.

Before Vivaldi, the solo line in a concerto was more like a musical decoration; in Vivaldi’s concertos, the contast between full orchestra and solo instrument becomes the key element in the structure of the whole piece, with the orchestra acting as a musical refrain or chorus (the ‘ritornello’) which alternates with a series of contrasting verses featuring the soloist.

With his concertos, Vivaldi set new standards for virtuosity, requiring soloists to play faster and more difficult music than ever before. He also introduced some striking musical effects in the orchestral writing; for example, he sometimes has all the orchestral instruments playing the same tune, in unison; you can hear this effect in the ‘storm’ music in the first movement of Spring, and at the beginning of the third movement of Summer.

This album is part of 1000 Years of Classical Music – a series of 100 volumes charting the history of music to be released on ABC Classics. Click here to view other titles in this series on our website.

More information can be found at the project’s website 1000 Years of Classical Music.

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ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678 – 1741)

The Four Seasons

1-3 Spring (Violin Concerto in E major, RV269)

4-6 Summer (Violin Concerto in G minor, RV315)

7-9 Autumn (Violin Concerto in F major, RV293)

10-12 Winter (Violin Concerto in F minor, RV297)

13-15 ‘Grosso mogul’ (Violin Concerto in D major, RV208)

16-18 ‘The Cuckow’ (Violin Concerto in A major, RV335)

Elizabeth Wallfisch Baroque violin
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra
Paul Dyer

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