The Four Seasons (Italian: Le quattro stagioni) is a group of four violin concerti by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, each of which gives musical expression to a season of the year. They were written around 1721 and were published in 1725 in Amsterdam, together with eight additional violin concerti, as Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione (“The Contest Between Harmony and Invention”).
The Four Seasons is the best known of Vivaldi’s works. Though three of the concerti are wholly original, the first, “Spring”, borrows motifs from a Sinfonia in the first act of Vivaldi’s contemporaneous opera Il Giustino. The inspiration for the concertos was probably the countryside around Mantua, where Vivaldi was living at the time. They were a revolution in musical conception: in them Vivaldi represented flowing creeks, singing birds (of different species, each specifically characterized), a shepherd and his barking dog, buzzing flies, storms, drunken dancers, hunting parties from both the hunters’ and the prey’s point of view, frozen landscapes, and warm winter fires.
Unusually for the period, Vivaldi published the concerti with accompanying sonnets (possibly written by the composer himself) that elucidated what it was in the spirit of each season that his music was intended to evoke. The concerti therefore stand as one of the earliest and most detailed examples of what would come to be called program music—i.e., music with a narrative element. Vivaldi took great pains to relate his music to the texts of the poems, translating the poetic lines themselves directly into the music on the
page. For example, in the middle section of the Spring concerto, where the goatherd sleeps, his barking dog can be heard in the viola section. The music is elsewhere similarly evocative of other natural sounds. Vivaldi separated each concerto into three movements (fast–slow–fast), and, likewise, each linked sonnet into three sections.
There is some debate as to whether the four concertos were written to accompany four sonnets or vice versa. Though it is not known who wrote the accompanying sonnets, the theory that Vivaldi wrote them is supported by the fact that each sonnet is broken into three sections, each neatly corresponding to a movement in the concerto. Regardless of the sonnets’ authorship, The Four Seasons can be classified as program music, instrumental music intended to evoke something extra-musical and an art form which Vivaldi was determined to prove sophisticated enough to be taken seriously.
In addition to these sonnets, Vivaldi provided instructions such as “The barking dog” (in the second movement of “Spring”), “Languor caused by the heat” (in the first movement of “Summer”), and “the drunkards have fallen asleep” (in the second movement of “Autumn”). (by wikipedia)
The Four Seasons are one of the most important compositions of all time and her we can hear a real great version byRolla János, a Hungarian violinist and conductor. He was very popular in his country and if you listen to this masterpiece of music, you will know why.
And the beautfiful pictures on the frontcover was taken from the Flemish Calendar.
László Czidra (strings)
Mária Frank (cello)
Rolla János (violin)
Zsuzsa Pertis (harpsichord, organ)
László Som (bass)
Liszt Ferenc Kamarazenekar Orchestra conducted by Rolla János
Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, “La primavera” (Spring):
01. Allegro 3.20
02. Largo 2.26
03. Allegro 4.11
Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, “L’estate” (Summer):
04. Allegro Non Molto
05. Adagio 2.04
06. Presto 2.38
Concerto No. 3 in F major, Op. 8, RV 293, “L’autunno” (Autumn):
07. Allegro 5.03
08. Adagio Molto 2.04
09. Allegro 3.18
Concerto No. 4 in F minor, Op. 8, RV 297, “L’inverno” (Winter):
10. Allegro Non Molto 3.23
11. Largo 2.13
12. Allegro 2.52
Music composed by Antonio Vivaldi