Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
Staged in a wonderful setting in Rome, Vivaldi's Four Seasons is a delightful series of concerts that take place throughout the year in the centre of the Eternal City. Since few composers’ works speak of the Italian baroque style more than Antonio Vivaldi's do, it is little wonder that his most famous work continues to delight audiences in the capital city to this day. No other piece is quite so fitting for an evening performance, one that can be enjoyed by both locals and visitors to Rome, alike.
The concert commences with a rendition of 'La Primavera', Vivaldi's take on the Italian springtime, a concerto known as No. 1 in E major. 'L'Estate' then follows, the composer's interpretation of summer which is played in G minor and which includes a fast section that famously represents a summer storm. The next concerto is No. 3 in F major, 'L'Autunno', which is many music fans favourite. Finally, the seasonal cycle is completed with 'L'Inverno', describing the winter in all of its splendour in F minor. The changing keys and passages have become almost second nature to audience-goers since the work was first presented in a published form in 1725.
The Opera e Lirica Academy Strings Quintet along with a harpsichord player provide a musical feast when handling the technical musicianship required to play the Four Seasons with the skill that each of the concerti demands. However, the programme does not end when the famous cycle has been completed. Audience members can expect a rendition of further string concerti by Vivaldi later in the programme to round off a superb evening's worth of entertainment.
When Vivaldi conceived his Four Seasons, he did so to raise the sophistication and artistry of so-called programme music, a form which attempts to render a narrative over and above the pure music on offer. When the cycle was new, the great composer took the unusual step of publishing four sonnets, one for each of the concerti he had written. Though music scholars debate whether the sonnets accompany the concerti or vice versa, there can be little doubt that Vivaldi set new standards in programme music which can still be felt to this day.
This superb concert will please aficionados of baroque and early classical music as well as general music fans who want to hear something typically Italian during their stay in Rome.