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Vivaldi’s Four Seasons foreshadowed the Romantic era

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons foreshadowed the Romantic era featured image

March 4, 2020

Antonio Vivaldi, the “Red Priest” (he was ordained and had a full head of bright red hair), was known as an opera composer in his day, and the composer who developed the concerto grosso (the Baroque musical form where a small ensemble plays with and against a large ensemble). He was a significant influence on JS Bach, who transcribed six of Vivaldi’s concertos for various instruments to those for solo keyboard –that’s a lot of work by quill and ink by candlelight.

Vivaldi is best known, of course, for his Four Seasons, a group of violin concertos depicting the times of year. The nature of Four Seasons foreshadowed the romantic era, when music commonly depicted nature and personal feelings. During Vivaldi’s time this was considered revolutionary. Speculation says he was inspired by the countryside of Mantua. One can imagine the visuals as he depicts the sounds of barking dogs, buzzing mosquitoes, a crying shepherd, storms, drunken dancers, hunting parties, frozen landscapes, ice skating-, and warm winter fires.

Because we’re all so familiar with Four Seasons, I thought it’d be nice to post a different version – the Spring movement (to give us hope that winter will soon be over) on acoustic guitar. This is Emre Sbuncuoglu’s arrangement of Spring.

Antonio Vivaldi was born March 4, 1678 in Venice, Italy, and died July 28, 1741 in Vienna, Austria.


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