Vivaldi's Four Seasons
In the inimitable atmosphere of beautiful Naples, you can really immerse yourself in Antonio Vivaldi’s life work. He is probably the most significant composer in Italian Baroque, and the concert performance Vivaldi’s Four Seasons demonstrates just why this is the case. Before getting to his legendary four-part suite that gives the performance its title, the programme also features three of his other outstanding concertos. Thus, the performance highlights Vivaldi’s creativity and versatility splendidly and makes for a memorable evening.
Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is divided into two parts with a short intermission in between. Part one begins with Concerto for strings and continuo in A Major F XI n.4, an upbeat work that sets the stage for a dynamic and exciting time ahead. Next comes Concerto for Strings in G-Major, RV 151, commonly referred to as ‘Concerto alla rustica’, which was likely composed in the 1720’s and thus close to the celebrated Four Seasons cycle. In contrast to most of Vivaldi’s instrumental works, ‘Concerto alla rustica’ does not feature soloists or a description that guides audiences’ interpretation. Instead, the work lets the strings and the continuo shine throughout. The Concerto for Strings in D-Minor, RV 127 rounds off the first part of the programme on a solemn note before the brief intermission.
Part two of the performance is entirely dedicated to The Four Seasons. Vivaldi composed the suite of four violin concertos around 1720. Rumour has it the composer drew inspiration from the lush Italian countryside during many hikes and nature escapes. The concerts remain unmatched to this day in terms of musical creativity and invention. Each of them is also accompanied by a programmatic sonnet, likely also written by the composer himself. Using the stringed instruments at his disposal, Vivaldi managed to mimic a host of natural sounds, such as multiple bird species’ songs, dogs barking, sheep bleating, mountain springs murmuring, summer storms raging, winter blizzards howling and many more. To hear the genius of The Four Seasons performed live in Naples is a memorable and momentous occasion.