"I have one word for you: story." - Hans Zimmer
Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" isn't new to anyone, even if they've never consciously listened to it - because it's everywhere, as the following clip says. But the detailed beauty in "Four Seasons" is astounding, especially for someone like me, an infant in the understanding of classical music.
Previously, I understood "Four Seasons" as more of creating-a-mood sort of listen, not a detailed story with specifics in mind. But now that I see it, I can hear it, and this 42 minutes of storytelling is about as good as any short story I've ever read.
Here are some interesting facts about the piece:
- In 1725, The Four Seasons was published in a set of twelve concerti entitled Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione (The Test of Harmony and Invention).
- Vivaldi wanted the music to portray the events and emotions of the seasons, dividing the piece into concertos representing spring, summer, autumn and winter. Now known as “program music”, The Four Seasons was arguably the first piece to focus on this style, doing so in strong, illustrative detail.
- The music is an interpretation of 4 sonnets, whilst it is not specifically stated that Vivaldi wrote these sonnets as well, it is widely believed that he did because the words and music are so entwined.
- King Louis XV became very fond of the spring concerto, ordering it to be performed on numerous occasions.
- It has been debated often, but a recording of violinist Alfredo Campoli performing during a French radio broadcast in 1939 is widely considered to be the first recording of the piece.
- Extracts from the Four Seasons have appeared numerous times in popular culture. It can be heard in popular television shows such as The Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory and Grey’s Anatomy as well as films such as Halloween II, What Lies Beneath and A View to Kill (via).
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